Vineyards of En-Gedi | Homiletic Explorations into Communion, community, and evangelization
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  • The practical spirituality and ministry implied in the I Corinthians 5 reading is too much to pass up; the gospel story of the prodigal son provides a concrete example of what Paul is talking about for the Church. Reconciliation shows itself in the qualities of justice, joy, thanksgiving, humility, and wisdom. The joy in this Laeta...

  • Lent means to transform us into conformity with Christ in the flesh and in the resurrection. So the Lenten sojourner witnesses the transfiguration of Christ, and thus is enabled to enter into a deeper understanding of th Paschal Mystery for one’s self. Thus, a significant milestone in the Lenten walk with Jesus is attained. Lent ...

  • Human life is frail, given to the distractions of the world and subject to the whim of bad luck and needing to be set free from the oppression of the world’s domination. God appears to Moses and in the person of Jesus Christ to save us from slavery to sin and to accompany us in mercy on our own journey to Jerusalem. The readings ...

  • The gospel story is so well known and so many readers get fixated on whatever Jesus mysteriously wrote in the dust of the Temple pavement. Sometimes the main message of the personal encounter with Jesus is missed, but perhaps this is the binding link for the readings. If anything, the highlights of the Philippians reading are key t...

  • The readings challenge us to think about the dynamics and psychology of sin from the view of these ancient texts. Recognition of the truth of the human condition and authentic honesty about ourselves will result in an increase of yearning for Jesus. Sin is never comfortable to discuss, and yet it should not be in a “hell fire and...

  • The Ash Wednesday proclamation focused on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, each the opposite of money, power, and fame. The gospel makes us consider the ways of the world as opposed to the ways of God. All God’s blessings belong to God; we return our money, power, fame and we praise God alone. How do these readings mature us in o...

  • Lectionary CatechesisFr. Alan Hartway, CPPS Guardian Angels Parish in Mead, CO Thus Lent begins. God desires conversion of heart; our Lenten practices are directed to that goal or end. At the same time, the three penances commended by Jesus are done for others who have less than we have ourselves; at any angle, penance has som...

  • The anointed one, foretold in Cyrus according to Isaiah, and fulfilled in Jesus Christ comes to save us through the trial of baptism, death to sin and an assent to God’s grace in the resurrection. The readings are about lamentation for the effects of sin; this is what Pope Francis means by a renewal of compunction, the gift of te...

Homiletics Notes / 13.12.2019

It is striking that Jesus asks six rapid fire questions at the delegates sent by John the Baptist about what they went to see. He is pressing them. He is demanding an answer. He answers his own questions in the rhetorical final question: they went out to see a prophet. At the same time the crowd was drawn out to the desert by the novelty of John the Baptist, who turns out not to be the liberator messiah from Roman oppression and occupation that they yearned for. Yet for Jesus it is a time of decision. In other words, going out to the desert resonates deeply among the people in their spiritual hearts. For in the desert the people of the Exodus encountered God. To decide for God or to choose the comforts of the world. Each of knows the times when we have chosen comfort over the hard decision for God in our lives. This world is so attractive to us, and we have made ourselves comfortable. John is a messenger sent to prepare the way of the messiah. This is the fundamental call of the church to evangelization, to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the challenge of our times, not by pulling back inwardly towards ourselves, for this is a kind of comforting not needed in the world today, but actually to to out into the world, which is a spiritual desert. If confronted by the basic question your faith, how do you answer? Are you hedging? Wavering? Is it complete? How does it look in the shape of your life? What do you come out to church to see and hear on Sundays? How do you bring that home into your family into your life? ...

Homiletics Notes / 12.12.2019

St. James offers us who are waiting two examples to live by, encouraging our patience: The farmer and the prophet. These are useful images in our parishes today. God sustains the farmer and the prophet in their struggles. Both occupations continue their work while at the same time relying on God and trusting in God doing the other share of the work. Both of them have the gift of persistence, patience, and perseverance. One might think of the imagery of rain as grace poured out from heaven. Both don't just sit around waiting for God to act, but rather continue to go about the work assigned to them. Both are all about harvest; note the ingathering imagery of the prophet Isaiah this Sunday. Patient waiting is the problem for us in our instant gratification culture. Most of us are not patient waiters. Hurry, rush, haste are the words of our times. Meanwhile we miss the signs of the reign of God among already, God breaking forth into our world like shards of light in the darkness. We go too fast to see them and the divine presence. Stilling my heart and soul and body and mind in prayer enables the in-sight to these things. And we need to do this with one another in the circle of the family first of all and as parish family. Perhaps Advent liturgies should move along more carefully and slowly. And here's how we think: there's no Gloria so I have a few minutes to add and not go over the time of 50 minutes. This is not the way. ...

Homiletics Notes / 11.12.2019

Sunday Advent 3 A. Gaudete Sunday begins with the introit from Philipians 4, 4, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice." But the verse goes on to say, "Your kindness make known to all people. The Lord is near." These two things are the cause of the joy: God's kindness επιεικες (used in canon law to indicate the supremacy of mercy over a strict application of the law) and this nearness, "in your midst" quality. In the midst of personal tragedy or suffering, this is difficult to believe, because one now feels the distance and the lack of kindness more poignantly than ever. What cause is there to rejoice. Take a good look at the feast of pictures of the year in the New York Times today; it takes the mind away from the personal to the global very quickly. Yet there's no relief in one's personal suffering. The opening collect than prays that we might have this joy, not only with solemn worship, but glad rejoicing. The first reading from Isaiah, the restoration of Eden in a great return and an ingathering of the peoples displaced. This is the prayer and dream of the modern world. I notice how it is so much more than the very small American Dream, for the sheer grandeur of its scope. That this should be communicated in a homily with heightened poetic language. Pull out any three images of joy in in the photos from the NYT, or use any from the local homiletic site. ...