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 / 05.11.2019

The persecution of the Judaism ratchets up as Antiochus IV sends a Greek senator to force the jews to abandon their faith and participate in sacrifices to Zeus. Of course they refuse. The author of Maccabees then tells heroic stories of their resistance and martyrdom. The first is Eleazar, an old man, and then the mother of seven. These remembrances intend to stir up resistance even to death among the Jewish people. Naturally these heroic and defiant deaths only serve to deepen resistance and faithfulness. The rebellion becomes outright war; in the midst of it Antiochus IV Epiphanes dies after literally rotting from the inside out. The people are success and the Temple is purified and rededicated. One of the points of the story is faith in the resurrection in vs. 9 which is why this narrative accompanies the Gospel. This means the encounter in the Gospel is not about marriage, but rather about the resurrection. The incident is all of II Maccabees 7, of which we only read a small section. The cofident faith of the seven sons and the mother are exaemplars. One wonders how many contemporary American Catholics would die for their faith. Not very many of us at all. We'd become Islamic first, exactly as the people of Constantinople in 1453. We have a very "thin" faith. ...

Homiletics Notes / 04.11.2019

Reflections toward Ordinary Time 32 C. The Problem of Marriage is the gospel this Sunday. The Sadducees, of course, attempting to trick Jesus, are preposterous in constructing their hyperbolic narrative. Their example goes back to levirate marriage; it is unclear whether or not this sort of marriage was ever actually practiced in ancient Israel. The Sadducees deny the that there is a resurrection; the incident initially is not about marriage at all but about the resurrection. this is the theme of Jesus' teachings in the Temple before the Passion Narrative events begin. Jesus' response does not focus on marriage as much as on the nature of the resurrection. The Church teaches that there are not marriages in heaven. After all, people say in their vows "until death do us part." Death ends a marriage. Following his own life choice of not marrying, Jesus privileges the state of virginity as worthy of the resurrection. It is difficult to read the teaching "they are the ones who will rise", almost as if those married will not. This teaching, the core of it is vs. 35, is difficult. Marriage is oriented toward the procreation of children by means of the physical body. In "the coming age" there is no begetting of children as there is no physical body. Gender and sex will not exist. Virginity is a preferred state of life in light of the immediacy of the end times. This is extremely foreign to our culture. ...

Homiletics Notes / 02.11.2019

There are several contrasts in the readings or reversals, if you will. The grand as in the grandeur of the created cosmos in the first reading and the smallness or shortness of Zacchaeus in the Gospel. And in the Gospel, just as Zacchaeus seeks (the translation is "tries") to see Jesus, so too Jesus seeks the lost, that is, Zacchaeua, not the grand Pharisees. Zacchaeus' restitution and reparation goes way beyond the twofold required in the Mosaic Law, and beyond any sense of tithing, when he offers four fold. He is being outrageously generous in his joy at having come to see Jesus and receive such a guest into his home. On the last portion of his journey to Jerusalem, there are four encounters: with the ten lepers, the rich official, the blind beggar, and Zacchaeus. Each of these has been about certain classes of people, both the have and have nots of society of the day. They are also stories of the Messianic joy and thanksgiving that arises from the encounter with Jesus. These stories are about acceptance or rejection of the reign of God. They are not parables but arranged by Luke as actual encounters, to show how the encounter takes place and the turning point of the encounter as conversion and acceptance of the messianic presence. Translating this into our own encounter with Jesus challenges us, largely because we are unsure of our own encounter. For us it may very well have begun with the natural world which the Wisdom author puts into perspective for us. Yet, we are the same people who admire the beauty of the natural world we ravage it wastefully and wantonly. Or it may have been like the Psalmist who has an experience of God's mercy which turns them to thanksgiving. Or perhaps it is the reception of the Thessalonians in their struggles to hold fast to the faith that they should keep in mind the glory of God. ...