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 / 18.09.2019

We live in such times that challenge some that we should pray for "kings and those in authority", translate: "politicians" today. To use Paul's language we might ask if our prayers for them have actually resulted in "a quiet and tranquil live in all devotion and dignity." Everywhere we sense the disquiet of our times; human rights and dignity are eroded in our own country and in too many place throughout the world. Surely it is not that our prayers are inadequate. Paul then makes a leap in the text and connects this sort of life with the salvation. In other words, when we have the peaceful life, then we can focus on salvation. At the same time, this sort of life is a glimpse then of the life of the world to come. The universalism really stands out in Paul. He proposes that underlying all this is the one God (remember he is living in a polytheistic world, much like our own), and this one God's will is the salvatkon of all. God is our true king who alone brings us quiet, tranquility, and human dignity. The barriers of race and cult are banished, and the work of salvation has an enormous breath and scope. He tells us that this is the core witness of his mission. He is speaking the truth. The passage ends with Paul returning to his theme of prayer. Note that hands of prayer in his culture were uplifted hands, unlike the folded hands of today. Folded hands in prayers is a very much later custom in Western Europe. Note, too, that effective prayer is engaged without anger or argument. Paul is always aware of the factions in the early Christian communities. A unified parish is surely every pastor's dream. ...

Homiletics Notes / 16.09.2019

Ordinary Time 25 C gospel continues immediately after the lost son parable. The imprudent steward has squandered the master's property, and so this is the connection to the lost son. The virtue of prudence adds to the list of the disciples' qualities. The very next virtue is trustworthiness. Our Gospel passage ends with a well known saying about serving God or Mammon; we can't do both. While the Dave Ramsey material is good for us, it is not the complete answer, which lies in discipleship. Vs. 9 is difficult. "Dishonest wealth" in the Greek is more literally "unjust mammon". "Mammon" is property, which has two potential problems: idolatry and unjust acquisition, and a third, an inclination toward sumptuousness. These were problems in the Hellentistic culture of Jesus as must as they are today. ...

Homiletics Notes / 13.09.2019

Triskaidekaphobia Day and a full moon, a good day for the Miserere, Psalm 51, the responsorial this Sunday. We have six verses of the much longer psalm. What we do use of the whole has some well known and famous lines. It is the prayer of repentance, the more elaborate prayer of the younger lost son. It will be my prayer today. It is also a hymn of praise and thanks. The father in the parable held this attitude throughout. Paul's letter portion this week is also a recognition of the mercy of God powerfully changing his life. He is grateful and humbled by the gift of mercy, and leverages this personal experience to encourage the same practice to Timothy and his people. The Alleluia verse affirms the message of reconciliation for the readings. More than that, we have this message, these accounts of reconciliation as evidence of our participation in the work of God. ...