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 / 26.03.2019

"We are ambassadors" is a verb in Greek, and has more a sense of a trained elder sent to negotiate peace, or in a crude English it might be read as "we are ambassadorizing for Christ." For the disciple today and the parish today, this means that the Church can never be merely inward gazing and working, but must be present in the world and to the world. It also means that peace is not negotiated through finger pointing judgment, but rather through the skill of listening and coming to a new truth about all the parties involved that is a new creation. The Father desires that the two sons enter into a new relationship with one another; the father truly negotiates with the older brother. The Church, especially religious orders, have made very little investments in developing the skill of its members in this practice, so much needed in the modern world of increasing tribalization and polarization. ...

Homiletics Notes / 25.03.2019

Of the fifteen times that the word reconciliation, καταλλαγητη, five of these occurrences are here in the second reading, therefore, it is one of the premier sites for a theology of reconciliation. It is the Father who reconciles, through Christ, all things to himself; it is the Father in Revelations who makes all things new. So, again the Father as in the gospel appears here in the readings. The Father send us as ambassadors, in the text not a noun but a verb, which suggests the activity of the role and not the status. The usual word for a political ambassador is not used, but rather suggests a person seasoned with experience and wisdom and discipleship. This "ambassadorship" has a ministry component (διακονια = diaconate) and a message (λογος), which means an "account". This accounting or narrative is twofold: it is at once the fundamental kergyma of the gospel and also the hearing out of the person's story, both victim and perpetrator, those near and those far off. ...

Homiletics Notes / 25.03.2019

The editorial bar introduces this gospel as the "Parable of the Lost Son" instead of the "Parable of the Prodigal Son," perhaps because the word "prodigal" has gone of usage or perhaps because the son now lost to the Father is the son who stayed home all along. But then, like every good parable, there is no ending to the story so we have no idea whether he goes in to the feast at his Father's special invitation. When we are in love we can become recklessly extravagant towards the beloved with gifts, food, entertainment, jewelry, wine, rings, clothes, our inmost self, our time. We do not think of the cost. For love, we have even made foolish mistakes. Or do we? This is the father in the parable. Who of us have not waited for a lover to return, a child to come back home, a friend rediscovered after years of absence? If there is any prodigal part of the story, it the Father in his reckless love. Each of the sons is rebellious in his own way, which in some ways places each on the extremes of a spectrum of love. Yet the Father is extravagant in the breathe and scope of his forgiveness. He pleads with the older brother. His argument? The great value in reconciliation. Our own families are so often just like this family portrayed by Jesus. I see the rifts particularly at funerals. There's so much need of reconciliation, when I see the sheer greed for the inheritance be first and foremost in the hearts and minds of one adult child or another. ...