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 / 30.08.2019

Notice how Luke stages the supper. Just as the Pharisees carefully watch Jesus, he too is watching them. They are vying for the places to recline at this banquet at the best and most advantageous places in relation to the host. We live in a very similar culture; we like to think of ourselves as important and finagle our way to what we think are the best seats. Except when seats are assigned then we get a subtle message about our real place in the eyes of the host. If your name card is at table 13 of 13 tables, you know it is going to be in the far corner of the room, out of the limelight, and you will be served last. Vss 11 and 14 sayings go together it would seem, with the last saying expanded to introduce the banquet in heaven of the resurrection. Luke uses these "reversal" sayings frequently in this Gospel; they are uncomfortable for us even today. In Hellenistic culture of his day, humility was not considered a virtue, but a deficiency, a kind of lack of interior strength or a lowly status in economy or society or family. It is the same today in our own culture of narcissism, privilege, and entitlement, and especially of white supremacy and racism of every kind. There's no humility here at all. Yet, humility is the mother of all the virtues. ...

Homiletics Notes / 29.08.2019

In some sense, the readings this weekend are about heaven and how to get there. For those who believe, this is the goal. For those who do not, the only other two options are reincarnation or nothing at all. There's an unsavory aspect to each of these two options. The resurrection and heaven require faith, but the prospects and the vision are far more appealing. In the Gospels, it often seems that any feast, banquet, dinner, wedding all point to and talk about heaven. So it is with the supper at the house of a Pharisee that begins here in Luke 14. The saints will be honored at the first places in the reign of God, and this is because while on earth they were looked down upon and suffered. There are few kings in heaven, and without doubt less lawyers, and as Jesus notes elsewhere, even less the rich. Those of us who think much of ourselves ought to take great care lest we are humbled by some humble person esteemed by the Master rather than by our own self esteem. God invites the poor, the lame, the broken to the great wedding feast. In our culture wedding invitations are crafted with an attention to who is important and deserving and who will bring in the better gifts. Recently there was a article in the news about the new trend of simply charging people a fee much like buying a ticket to an event in order to attend one's wedding, and in the case of this story it was $250! I suppose that there are those who think that they can buy their way in. Or who self-justify by keeping every letter of the law, while missing the whole point of love. The Gospel includes both reward and humility, after the two sayings of Jesus embedded in the Gospel. ...

Homiletics Notes / 28.08.2019

The author of the letter to the Hebrews would seem to address the contemporary issue of the sort of 18th century piety which demands that people shrink back, bow and scrape, and do full prostration in the divine presence of God. Because we are worth scum in the sight of God due to our sins, we are unworthy in every moment to approach God. It is the difference between translating "fear of God" and "awe of God", the two legitimate options based on the Hebrew original phrase. The clergy of any religion has wanted to instill a sense of "fear of God" in the people to control them and ensure job security. The one is a negative orientation to God, and the second a positive understanding. Of course in a day and age of deep human narcissism and godlessness, one can understand the need to instill fear.After all, God is the final judge. But the Hebrew's writer declines the negative view of human unworthiness by the use and description of the first "not" in favor of the second "no", we have approached something filled with awe and wonder. The scene is "festal" not "fearful." The sprinkled blood is the sign and ritual of the new covenant, the eloquent words recreate the scene of Exodus 24, 1-8. where blood is sprinkled and the covenant is read out to the people who answer affirmatively that they have heard and will act upon the covenant. eating to a feast shared between God and the people. Communion is not only about the holy presence of God, but about the covenant between God and the human family. We tend to focus only on the first aspect to the neglect of the second. ...