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 / 12.07.2019

All the bloodshed of the world today, and there is a staggering amount (yet we don't reel from this), has not solved a single problem of the modern world. There are some people who seem to think that if we only find the right scapegoat and sacrifice that population (it's no longer an individual thing) then our problems will be solved. The children at the border crisis is an example. People blame the refugees for their problems so they conclude it is right that they should suffer. Whereas nothing could be further from the truth. Our national problems are not the refugees at the border, and only a difficulty in the lack of ethical fiber now laid bare in our culture. Only the blood of Jesus, in the free deliberateness of his sacrifice, effects the peace that we all dream about and fail to attain, because we are persisting in the wrong approach -- kill the scapegoat! The blood of Jesus is not death, but life in that the renewal of the human and divine relationship is reconciled. ...

Homiletics Notes / 11.07.2019

There's a tendency afoot alleging an extreme, bordering on the violent, hatred and rancor between the Jews and the Samaritans. Daniel Harrington in the Luke volume of Sacra Pagina offers a bit of nuance, because the focus on the antipathy distracts from the point of the story which is an outrageous act of charity. After all there is plenty of gospel evidence that Jesus had a mission to the Samaritans, and was welcome there despite his Jewishness, and the Acts of the Apostles relates the acceptance of Christ and establishment of successful communities there of believers in Acts chapters 8, 9, and 15. Indeed only in Luke 9,53 is a Samaritan mentioned negatively. Indeed here in this story, the Samaritan acts like Jesus in his own response to those on the side of the road, beaten up by life, and crying out for mercy. The story is about the risks of outrageous love, agape love, and επιεικεια, a Greek ethical principal, imbedded in Roman law and Canon law, that a law can be broken to achieve a higher good, in other words setting the principle of the natural law above man-made laws (deliberately using male language here). The law would have commanded the Samaritan to do nothing, but walk on as the priest and the levite did. The natural law stirs in the human heart and cries out for this new kind of compassion. The priest and the levite, rigid keepers of the Mosaic laws of ritual purity, are portrayed by Jesus as ignoring this inner call of the human heart, an inner call put there by God. The story of the graciously hospitable Samaritan is followed immediately in the Gospel of Luke by the gracious hospitality of Martha and Mary, which is next Sundays Gospel. The two accounts are best served when referencing one another. ...

Homiletics Notes / 10.07.2019

Christ is first of all creation, and because He is the Word of God, and creation came from the Word, all creation is created "in" him. This little "in" seems to connect with the "in" language of John's Last Supper speeches, especially chapter 17, where the church is exhorted to "remain in Christ." To step out of that "in"-dwelling is almost as if to step out of creation, and therefore into chaos, into the darkness outside of the light of Christ. The next truth is that Christ "holds all things together", the glue of creation, if you will. Opposite to this, the modern person thinks that the individual holds one's own self together. We use that phrase, "Get it together!" Christ is also the head of the body the Church. In a culture of headless horsemen individualism, there is no head. "All the fullness was pleased to dwell" is a highly technical philosophical word in Greek. But it is the last verse, at the core of the kerygma, is the work of Christ; all that came before regards his the nature of his being, which authorizes him to do the work, and the work is reconciliation by means of the bridge that connects heaven and earth, -- blood. Blood is life, and life is from God. This bridging which is blood binds and reconciles the two worlds when they step out of the participation of being "in" Christ. This peace, this reconnection, this restoration, this redemption is the work of Christ through his precious blood. When we see and experience the blood shed of the post-modern world, we glimpse the chaos and the disconnect, and we all truly feel powerless to do anything about it. Hence the divine intervention/incarnation of Christ to work through his precious blood the bridging back to God. On the other hand we tend to think of peace as the result of some sort of diplomacy and compromise. Reconciliation is not diplomacy. ...