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 / 11.04.2019

A rapidly moving spring snow yesterday evening and last night. Yet it is not even noon and the side streets are dry. It's like four seasons in one morning. Holy week, just like that, rapidly moves us through all the emotions of joy, horror, grief, loss, rejoicing! Palm Sunday's reading from the great Christological Hymn of Philippians moves from one extreme to another, But this sharp range of emotions, in the life of Christ and in the life of the disciple is not merely an emotion, but rather expresses the workings of the will, an unparalleled decisiveness in the dialogue and dynamic of the Father and the Son. At the heart of what seems the Greek rhetorical chiastic structure, is the cross, bookend by a descent into this world and at the other end by an ascent to the Father. As Christ ascends at the end as Lord, the human descends to the knee in adoration and worship. Christ's descent into this world, lifts us up to the world above, heaven. In some sense, the main actor in the entire hymn is perhaps the Father God, in and through him which all this happens. ...

Homiletics Notes / 10.04.2019

Psalm 22 begins with "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" This psalm opens with a complaint, and then set out a context to justify the plea before the throne of God. Who of us have not prayed this way in illness, life crisis, or our fears of the future? The enemies are compared to bulls and then to dogs. Remember that dogs did not have quite the same positive regard as they have achieved today in our culture. Dogs is typically an epithet for foreigners; it is derogatory. My cats are thinking this is surely right, but then I remind them that there is not a single cat mentioned in the Bible whatsoever. So, while dogs have it bad, cats don't have it at all. But the person praying soon enough turns to praise and thanksgiving even in the midst of attacks, even in the midst of any threat. Jesus, too, trusts in the Father's presence during the journey of his last days. Like Jesus, we can trust in the Father and praise God in the midst of crushing illness or any of the problems of life. Where does this sort of faith and perseverance come from? ...

Homiletics Notes / 09.04.2019

Is this the well-trained tongue of the good homilist, today? But before speaking, the homilist, as the prophet notes must first have a well-tuned ear, open to listening. Indeed this is so true and necessary. But it goes beyond the homilist, and is a exhortation to all of us: LISTEN before opening the mouth. Now, this is very difficult. The listening is to one's own wounds, but further, in the context of the prophet's whole message to the cries of the poor and the call of the blood. Perhaps it is the voice of Jesus, perhaps the Holy Spirit that we also hearken to. Listening is a deeper form of prayer that begging intercessions. Listening in prayer requires a deeper silence, a stilling of the mind, so that there is room for what is heard. After this listening, then the word spoken aims to speak to and rouse the weary. This is the work of the evangelizing disciples. Harsh judgments, condemnations, finger pointing do not rouse the weary. Every sinner is weary, and for this reason they return to the Lord in the confessional after 20, 30, and 40 years. Their experience there in that moment should be of welcoming mercy. Because "the Lord is my help", then I can relentless set my face to the task. The flint image suggests the firmness of the commitment, but more than that the fire flint ignites, which is of the Holy Spirit. ...