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 / 10.06.2019

Trinity Sunday coming this next weekend make me think -- doctrine. The first reading fro Proverbs connects the Spirit with a figure named Wisdom. oAlthough the passage does not say so specifically in the English translation, the grammatical gender of the Hebrew word, הוכמה, is feminine for wisdom. Here in this passage, she speaks to us. She is 'the beginning of His ways." (vs. 12) She describes herself as "poured forth" and "brought forth", two unusual expressions for beginnings. This implies a "from" origination and pre-existence of and from God. Her origination is "before all else". In the passage, Wisdom's presence is essential to the creation of all that is, because Wisdom is orderly, which in turn is a comforting thing to know about the created world -- it is orderly! And that it coheres, meaning all of one piece. There are obvious environment themes here about the shattering of this environmental cohesion which we humans have created in our disorderliness. Note the three qualities she ascribes to herself: God's craftsman, taking delight, and playing (repeated twice). These are themes buried in the encyclical "Laudato 'Si." We all have experiences of craftsmanship, delight, and playfulness. It is hard for us Americans to get that Wisdom is playful! Hence the abundance of all the critters which delight God by their very being. ...

Homiletics Notes / 07.06.2019

There is an alternative gospel for Pentecost C. The settings the last supper while the first option is a resurrection appearance. They have completely different focuses. The first option distributes the Holy Spirit as the fabric of peace in the community of the apostles to preserve the forgiveness and healing of which Jesus spoke so often as necessary for their success in the mission. The North American Church is in pieces, not just the clergy scandals, horrible enough, but the theological and liturgical bickering that goes goes on. These are the wounds in the body of Christ today. Jesus shows us these wounds to remind them that it is really himself, but also to confront them again with the consequences of the violence of sin. While we may tend to hide from the wounds of others and even our own, in order to get to the healing, we must confront the wounds. There's no turning aside. This confrontation, an acknowledgment of the presence of the consequences of sin and violence, is absolutely necessary for the healing to take place. In terms of reconciliation it means to listen to what has happened to the other. This is first. The listener must remain silent, yet with the active engagement of hearkening to the other person. One can't sit there and be thinking of what to say nexts or in response. There is no response. The response is the Spirit and Jesus Christ, that's the next words, not some personal story to top the story of the other person. The forgiveness does not come from the self, but from Jesus whose spirit we share. ...

Homiletics Notes / 06.06.2019

The Pentecost Vigil liturgy has four readings from the Hebrew Testament, which we've not heard from since The Easter Vigil. This Vigil imitates the great Vigil of the Paschal Mystery in the structure of the Liturgy of the Word. These readings are rich. Who can resist telling the story of the Tower of Babel? While on the surface it seems to be about the racial division and dispersal of the human family, it is more deeply about the contest between the will of God and the human will to power. The key phrase is, "nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do.." What is it exactly that we human presume to do? It seems that it is about power over the world and other humans and even to think to control God. History teaches us, if anything, that human power has always eventually been "out of control." Most recent examples are the current of nationalistic and popularistic politics, our wealth oriented economy, the denigration of peoples as "less than", and the corruption in the Church, to say nothing of our ravaging of the environment. I'm sure there's a longer list. Babel means according to some "gate of God", and not "babbling", as in incomprehensible sounds. That the scene is Babylon is highly questionable, although its markets were surely a place of much babbling. The presumption is that the tower "with its top in the sky" would allow human access to heaven and paradise without any dependence on God and grace to help us reach so lofty a goal in life. In other words, human power takes the matter into its own hands. This is a major theme for reflection in the modern world, because it means we are not attending to communion, community, and evangelizing, but rather to our own concerns. ...