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 / 28.10.2019

Reflections this week for Ordinary Time 31 C. Jesus reaches Jericho. Luke writes that Jesus "intended to pass through" gives a sense of urgency to the narrative as Jesus travels to Jerusalem. From Jericho up to Jerusalem is the last leg of the journey. The encounter with Zacchaeus interrupts Jesus' progress. The incident, as Luke tells it, has the quality of humor. Zacchaeus was big in stature in the sense of his prominence and wealth in the Jericho area, but in sharp contrast he was short physically. This would arguably have amused the ancient listeners. Without any introduction, Jesus already knows the little man's name, which surprises Zacchaeus. Jesus changes his itinerary immediately; he "must stay" at Zacchaeus' house that very day. We are not told about the supper or overnight (?) at all. We are only given a final parable of the ten coins, told before going to Zachaeus' home. Then after that we're suddenly at the gates Jerusalem for the Palm Sunday narrative in Luke 19. For Luke, one wonders if the Zacchaeus incident merely the set up for the final parable of the journey, again one that regards economic justice. Money will be a continuing theme in Luke during Jesus' brief teachings in the Tempe precinct. Coming up are the parables of the widow's mite, the tax to the emperor, the ousting of the moneychangers, and the betrayal of Jesus for silver coins by Judas. ...

Homiletics Notes / 24.10.2019

Hebrew and Greek have as many words for prayer as Inuit have for snow. It is interesting that the English translation has the Pharisee "speaking" words while the tax collector "prayed." In the Greek, both are simply "saying these words." Jesus uses the word "prayer" at the beginning of the parable. He is both teaching what the words of prayer should be, but described postures and attitudes useful and appropriate for prayer. Prayer is not so much words but a manner of holding oneself in the divine presence. To present one's self in the presence of God, the posture of the supplicant who begins as we do the Mass with the words, "Lord, have mercy." Literally, give alms to us, which is grace, so that we can turn from our human state of sin toward the state God originally intended for us humans. When one looks at our times, and back through history, we humans have much to be penitent about. Nor does the future necessarily look all that hopeful. Discounting all the technological and industrial advances, none of which are necessary for the development of the human person and our core dignity, there is not much to say for us humans. It is a bit odd that the Gospel parable is couples with St. Paul's own boasting about his accomplishments. He is speaking in "the time of my departure is at hand." There is somehow a difference between what Paul is writing and the boasting of th Pharisee. Paul gives the credit for his accomplishments in life to God, unlike the Pharisee. God rescues him from all the evil things happening to him. He knows he cannot do so on his own. It sounds as if in the Roman court Paul proclaimed the Gospel, or at least that is hinted at here. In times of difficulty that is the last thing on our minds, proclaiming the Gospel! ...

Homiletics Notes / 23.10.2019

A sudden reversal of fortune delights us as we wait and hope to win the lottery. Whoops! I have to buy a ticket first. I guess I won't be winning. These reversals of fortune occur throughout the Gospel of Luke; it is one of his favorite rhetorical devices. This is the thematic structure underlying the parable of the two men at prayer. It is rare that Jesus interprets the meaning of a parable for the disciples and for us, but here he succinctly does just that, and in terms of unexpected reversal. In doing so, Jesus also reveals how God answered the prayers of both men. The prayer of the Pharisees, lacking the qualities of humility and faith, is not justified. The tax collector who has faith that God will save him (not his own goodie-two-shoes characteristics) and forgive him. Paul writes to Timothy also in some way about his own reversal of fortune. Just when everything is going very badly for him, people attacking him on every side and being under arrest, Paul sees the hand of God changing all this and bringing him safely to the other side. The reversal also appears in the unexpected attention God gives to the poor, the widow, the weak, all because God shows no favorites. We live in a culture today where white people think they are God's favorites, although they have nothing to show for their presumption except an incredible amount of human suffering because of their arrogance. We live in a time where prejudice and bigotry, both the work of the devil in us, are having a come back unexpected. Perhaps a homily reflecting on these reversals and our prejudices favoring the Pharisee in each of us. ...