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 / 09.04.2019

Palm Sunday this year is the gospel of Luke. Luke’s Passion Narrative begins with the longest Last Supper scene among the synoptics. This Last Supper account includes the unique features of two cups of wine and the betrayal after the communion. Luke also includes “an argument broke out among them about which is the greatest.”  Again, Luke’s overall theme of the great reversal appears here. This is followed by the prediction of Peter’s denial, after which Luke adds an admonition about their preparedness for mission by taking a money bag and a sack as well as a sword!  All excited by this, he squelches their enthusiasm with “It is enough!”  In the agony in the garden, Jesus prays only once and then awakens the disciples. The arrest has the pattern of the kiss, the cutting of the ear, the seizure, and Jesus’ first claim to innocence. The court scene in front of the Sanhedrin and in front of Pilate both bracket like bookends Peter’s threefold denial, as if a third court scene among the commoners. Luke does not include Judas’ suicide. Luke uniquely includes a fourth court scene in front of King Herod. Back in the court of Pontius Pilate, who in Luke does not wash his hands, Jesus is sentenced to death, with Pilate placing the responsibility on the peoples’ demands.  The way of the cross includes only two of the traditional stations in this gospel: the enlistment of Simon of  Cyrene and the confrontation with the women of Jerusalem. In Matthew and Mark, the way of the cross is only one verse long. Luke uniquely adds the dialogue with the two thieves crucified with Jesus. Luke only tells of the profession the centurion’s faith and nothing of the piercing of his side. Luke does not name anyone at the foot of the cross. The crucifixion scene tells of three of the seven last words The burial focuses on Joseph of Arimathea; it merely says “women who came from Galilee with him” returned later but before the Sabbath...

Homiletics Notes / 05.04.2019

The woman, commanded by Jesus to go and sin no more, has been restored to her "upward calling", Paul's phrase. We re a people in a community "for God, "I formed for myself." We, gifted with free will, can choose. Jesus is inviting the woman (and us) to live in such a way that our lives "announce my praise." The progressive steps of the journey to conformity to Christ are outlined by Paul in the Philippians reading. He is very aware and very clear that this all doesn't just happen at once. It is a journey and a process that is challenging. The point is that I "continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it." This possession is not in economic language but in the language of athletic contest, the image of a race used elsewhere by Paul. This language and its image present an opportunity for a homily about our own Lenten achievement of the goal. Athletic events, like soccer, are also very social events for the adults present. To some extent it is about community, competitive as it is. ...

Homiletics Notes / 04.04.2019

The story of the woman accused of adultery present the temptation to go off on adultery for the homily. This seems contrary to the point of the story: God's radical mercy and lovingkindness. As we approach the goal of Lent, we will want to have an experience of this in our own lives. For our lives are diluted by the desert of this world, and we are scattered in our lack of focus, intent, commitment, and we have been found wanting. None of us are without sin. So we come to Jesus at long last; we come before him and sinners. He alone forgives us. At the end of the story, it is not just the sin of adultery, but the word of Jesus is "do not sin any more." He broadens the scope of sin to our whole lives and position before God. This is difficult. People will get fixed on the idea of such easy absolution from adultery; we live in a divorce future, after all. So there's a bigger point here than adultery. It is about the nature and state of sin which is the condition of this world. The world is a desert, and God come to create water in the desert, as Isaiah says. Of course this would seem to be the waters of baptism, towards which we are headed toward the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil. I'm really intrigued by the second reading's phrase, "God's upward calling." This is that "more than you realize" pursuit in all our lives when we conform ourselves to the death and resurrection of Christ. ...