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 / 16.05.2019

Whenever the great love commandment occurs for the Sunday readings, I have always found it to be a real challenge, because the commandment itself says it all, and what more could I possibly add to it. In real life practice, it feels further overwhelming to actualize in life. It seems more a high ideal than down to earth. Jesus goes on at the Last Supper to add to this by saying, "as I have loved you." This means sacrificial, αγανπη love! In a narcissistic culture of entitlement, this is difficult. Note that Judas has just left the room. John proclaims "Now . . ." because everything is set in an inexorable motion; there's no way out and no turning back but for the cross when Jesus will be lifted up. That first word, "now", is very forceful, and in the Gospel of John, all the signs have led up to this pivotal moment. Now is decisive. Whenever we make major life decisions, we realize the gravity, and we make decisions, over most of which we only imagine ourselves to have any control. Here Jesus gives himself over to a reality, the Father, which in the freedom of the love in and of the trinity will is shared absolutely. "This is how all will know that you are my disciples . . ." means that our love in communion and community is the impetus of evangelization. People desire to enter this powerful sort of belonging and meaning. What are our failures and successes at this sort of love? ...

Homiletics Notes / 15.05.2019

The responsorial psalm praises God for God's gracious mercy and for the beauty of creation, but the praise does not stop there. The exhortation to these ""works" of the Lord, including us humans, is both to discourse on this mercy and might and to make these things known to all the children of Adam. This is the conversation we have among ourselves and that we make known outside our little circle. Praise evangelizes. Parents can lead a family supper conversation, as I know one couple does in my parish, and ask everyone at the table to share one beautiful thing in creation that they experienced that day. The notice and the sharing at the table then fulfill the psalm. The hesitation to make known the glorious splendor of God's reign arises because we are so enamored of our current economics and politics that we can't imagine anything better. We love wealth so much we are willing to trash morality and ethics and values. This work of imagining is up to the homilist to re-establish. ...

Homiletics Notes / 14.05.2019

Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch in Syria where they began their first missionary journey. What started as a mission to the Jews by speaking in the synagogues, son became a mission to the Greeks and Romans, the gentiles. To celebrate the Church gathers to hear the story and approve of their work. Along the way, several important things happen. One, is the appointing of elders over the churches. The Greek word is "presbyters", which got contracted and corrupted into English as the word "priests". The Greek word for "priests" is almost entirely avoided by every author to designate any sort of leadership role in the apostolic church. Two, the mission to the Jews was based on a continuity, whereas the first reading to the peoples of the nations was based a larger plan of God. Paul uses first an argument from Isaiah, the light to the nations motif, and then a natural law argument about the unity of the human family. The gentiles welcome them in Antioch of Pisidia, Iconic, and Lystra with joy, and at attempt at sacrifice! The point here is the beginning of the great ingathering of the human family that appears in the Book of Revelation. This reconciling and community building work is still the mission of the Church today. I have to ask myself constantly how does this appear in reality in the parish? ...