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 / 24.04.2020

The introit antiphon is far more appealing than the ultramontanism of the right wing Catholic immersed in 18th century's suffocating pieties in which silence rules. Do they ever imagine themselves "cry(ing) out with joy to God" much less to all the world. They would rather remain in silence, head covered and bowed behind the closed doors and windows of the church. God forbid someone should cry out with joy inside a church. Doesn't Jesus himself say that should he be silenced, even the stones with shout? Please, no shouting in Church. The alleluia antiphon speaks of asking Jesus to open the Scriptures for us that our hearts will burn within us. Rather, there's a crowd who want just the opposite; that Jesus should rather calm their hearts in silence, to say nothing of the fact that they're really not wanting the Scriptural truths opened to them, because they've already made a religion dog their own so very far from Jesus' own proclamations and teachings of abundant joy. The communion antiphon then completes the message this weekend, Jesus as Eucharist. Today there's an enormous cultural erosion of this belief; many Catholics have in fact become Protestants, considering gate Eucharist as something symbolic, allegorical, or memorial. Eucharist, the divine and holy presence of Jesus, is what people want. IN one of the many movies about Elizabeth I, a privy councillor gives her advice at a critical point in the challenges to her authority, as she comes to maturity in the kind of queen she should be. He tells her, "Mean need to see and touch the divine, and they need this from you." This becomes a defining moment in how she will proceed in presenting herself in the crisis to her people. And she wins the day. ...

Homiletics Notes / 22.04.2020

Some people hearing or reading the Emmaus account actually tear up at the line, "Were not our hearts during within us while he spoke to us on the way?" This line can resonate deeply with us still today; it has a kind of power that comes from the awareness of a profound truth that suddenly befalls us, surprises us, and our hearts surge. At the blessing and breaking of bread, open eyes and recognition let us know that it is indeed him. The text plays upon the fact that it is Jesus and it is that he is the bread of life all at once; it can be read either way. The whole point of the narrative is the Eucharist! I these days of corona virus lockdown, social distancing, and shelter in place, one hopes that the modern Catholic has that belief, open eyes, and a burins heart for the divine and holy presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We've not had access now for five weeks. Prayer in the family circle should note and stir up this longing for Eucharist. Our hearts certainly get stirred up to go shopping, we live in such crass materialism, spiritual matters of the soul are left to go hungry for the really real. When Jesus opens the Scripture for them, he uses it to interpret the events in Jerusalem, and so the gives gives to Jesus the first telling of the fundamental kerygma. Later in the first twelve chapters of Acts is this then taken up as the proclamation by the disciples. The homilist's challenges is to open these Scriptures and celebrate the Eucharist in such a way that hearts are lifted up, not preached at. ...

Homiletics Notes / 21.04.2020

In our second reading this coming Sunday, St. Peter writes about our sojourning. In our own historical moment, we have the opportunity to re-think our own sojourning here on earth, even as we are participating in a national stay at home recommendation. Our lives are now more poignantly that ever a sojourning in our brief time on earth. Peter commends us to reverence during our brief days on earth. It is not because we will be judge, but out of the reverence we hold for the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, more precious than silver or gold. The option is to waste our time after the search for silver and gold, by which means all the things of this earth. This reverence occurs through realization about the things really are, the great truths of things. The author names the characteristics of Christ as the shedding of his precious blood, the knowledge of him since the foundation of the world, and the resurrection. Then, recalling intellectually these things it is right to place our hope and faith in God, no longer hoping and believing of the things of this world. the homiletic stress should be just on this reverence and the attitudes one has towards the divine actions, while putting the things of this world in their proper place. Curing this pandemic, all these things are a consideration given new interest for us. ...