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 / 22.11.2019

The Colossians is a thanksgiving hymn to the Father, who delivers us into the kingdom of His Son. Then the hymn itself gives adoration to the Sonby naming his qualifications and characteristics making him worthy of this adoration. Christological means that it is a hymn about Christ in his full nature and substance. Because he holds these states of being, he is qualified and authorized "to reconcile all things for him." This reconciliation is effected "making peace by the blood of his cross." I imagine that the cross is the new tree of knowledge and its fruit is not the pomegranate juice of the tree in Eden, but rather his own blood, which we consume in communion of the Eucharist. The language of "blood of his cross" not only suggests his physical body, but implies a poetic image of the cross tree itself bleeding. This is a complex image for the modern person to wrap their imagination around. The question is: how can blood be life giving to say nothing of making and restoring peace? ...

Homiletics Notes / 21.11.2019

The king sneered at, jeered, called out, and reviled. That's the list of strong verbs for the rulers, the soldiers, and the criminals crucified with him. In Luke's structure they represent the four confrontations in the passion narrative: in the courtyard, before Pilate, before Herod, and before the leaders of the people. Each of these groups has a vision of kingship that falls short of the vision of the reign of God or at the least has disastrous consequences for justice, peace, and human dignity. Again, it's the royal versus the prophetic consciousness. The irony is that the accusation hung above Jesus on the cross is meant to mock him from the Roman perspective, yet it actually mocks their own limited sense of kingship. The other recurring refrain in the gospel is their notion of salvation. The rulers taunt him with this, the soldiers, and the criminals. But they have little or no idea of what an authentic salvation would look like, because they are only thinking of salvation as escape from their present predicament. We, too, often do likewise. Salvation is not a "from something" but rather "for something." That is to say, for the reign of God. This is the salvation of discipleship. One is not just saved from blindness or lameness, but one is for the accompaniment with Christ and with no other. He is acknowledged as king, Lord of our lives for the purpose of turning from the works of slavery (sin) towards the works of the reign of God (charity), the corporal works of mercy. ...

Homiletics Notes / 19.11.2019

The readings present three different images for celebrating Christ the King. In the gospel, the Messiah reigns from the cross where he distributes justice on the world. In the second reading we have one of the four great Christological hymns, in sharp contrast to the image of the king on the cross; the hymns employs dense philosophical vocabulary to reflect on the nature of the Christ. In the first reading, the kingship of David is placed within covenant and nuptial language as a fulfillment of the peoples' prayer for a ruler (like the other nations). This is a very interesting combination, and probably difficult to flesh out in an integrated homily. Each image requires its own full attention. This king is unlike any other. There have been a few kings who became saints, Vaclav for the Czechs for example, but still, none like Christ. We pray for a just ruler/president, and we have instead men each with their own flaws. No one is perfect, which does not excuse the bad behavior. We hope for Plato's philosopher king filled with wisdom and order. Many other nations have been stuck with monstrous dictators and tyrants. We all pray that we live in a time of peace and prosperity, and so too, our children. When we consider the disappointments in these earthly rulers, we yearn for the Prince of Peace and the just judge to help us govern our lives and create a human society of dignity and respect for each person. That's probably not going to happen. So we await this new kind of king. Or do we? In our current state of lawlessness, outsized individualism and fierce independence, it is very difficult to imagine people giving their over their lives to any kind of king, in a culture where everyone is a king and "queen for a day." So this day is not only a reflection on and yearning for Christ the king, but also is a great deal about our own discipleship, our servanthood,...