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 / 20.04.2020

Easter III A pril 26, 2020 The first reading has Peter addressing the first proclamation of the kerygma in Acts. It is addressed to the Jews, whom he addresses as "brothers", for indeed he is. He peaks in the company of the Eleven with their support and solidarity. He quotes extensively from the prophet Joel, Psalm 16, and Psalm 110, interpreting these Scriptures as now fulfilled. The context is Pentecost, and apparently the vent happens in the Temple. Peter relays the core of the story of Jesus: his birth, teaching, and the events in Jerusalem, now including the Ascension and pouring forth of the Holy Spirit. All this leads Peter to call for faith, baptism, and confirmation, and by extension to the Eucharist, which creates a new community. A description of this community immediately follows the speech. The homily should repeat this pattern as a proclamation of the good news. The redemption and resurrection event is not cast in the language of sin and death, but rather as cause for acceptance and joy. This joy is very difficult for most Catholics to wrap their minds around. Particularly in this time of pandemic, we fall back on the old "sinners in the hands of God, held over the pit of hellfire like a spider suspended from a thin thread,' of some oddly nostalgic good old days. Is that really the kind of relationship you yearn for? ...

Homiletics Notes / 17.04.2020

The responsorial psalm from 118 clearly sets out the tone for Divine Mercy Sunday, "His mercy endures forever." It opens with repetitions of praise, while the third and fourth stanzas set the reason for the extravagant praise. One seems to be set in a desert military campaign and the latter a successful construction project. But it is the last stanza that is most apt for today, and we hear this intoned frequently among those with a "live one day at a time" attitude. Indeed this is really all we have, more poignant that ever in this time of pandemic and the numerous restrictions. It is really down to one day at a time. All this[, time and space is what the LORD has done for us. Our response is just this, "This is day the LORD has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it." There's a invitation and a commitment then to take this day with thanksgiving and to be joyful about what God has given to us. This is certainly the opposite of the apocalyptic doomsayers who see God as vengeful and completely lack ing mercy for us mere and sad mortals. One more time the Scripture presents an opportunity to change our hearts and minds in the midst of the temptation of too many Catholics who are Jansenist. I find in my experience those most taken up by the divine mercy spirituality to be the very crowd of dour and judgmental Catholics who show no mercy whatsoever. ...

Homiletics Notes / 16.04.2020

At the end of the octave of Easter, the gospel appropriately tells of two physical appearances of Jesus in the upper room, a week apart. This octave of Easter we too are locked in "the upper room" of our homes for fear of the virus (and one another) and, at least here in Colorado, about 14 inches of snow, which also rather shuts everything down. We're afraid of the snow and ice, the weather, and the big thing that is going to happen: environmental collapse. Too often the homilist is tempted to skip the opening lines of the experience, the part about the forgiveness of sins, mostly because the church does not really believe in it. We're excellent at the retaining part of sins. If you don't believe me, please remember the centuries old files that are kept on everyone who ever cause a stir of any sort, remember the official Western stance towards divorce and remarriage, remember the way the church treats women, if you get my point, and I was just warming up to the crimes of the patriarchy. In a highly legalistic church, there very little or no room for the Holy Spirit, of whom hierarchies are always afraid and suspicious. I've long thought that the point of the Thomas event was only minority about his lack of faith, but rather about the forgiveness of Jesus toward Thomas, yet that too goes largely bypassed in the homilies for this Sunday. Jesus very gently forgives Tomas and literally invites Thomas into his body with his fingers and hand. This is remarkable for the vulnerability the Jesus shows and also his desire to be whole again with Thomas, and indeed with us in the body of the Eucharist. Well, our world today is all about carefully washed hands, a warning about physical contacts, and breathing through face masks, and hands safely rubbed gloved. While these things are absolutely and unequivocally necessary, we humans, herd critters, miss sorely the physicality of human...