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 / 05.08.2019

Ordinary Time 19 C: The Gospel sayings are place by Luke among a long string of teachings, loosely held together under the theme of discipleship and the characteristics it requires of a person. The greed mentioned in last Sunday's Gospel, here becomes a opportunity for teaching on money, the ultimate earthly thing and teaching on stewardship as service. The servants are attentive and vigilant. The extreme saying about the Master beating the servants does not sit well in our culture; no more than those in the ancient world, we have had enough violence. For us the saying evokes images of child spankings or the unbearable situation of slavery in the modern world. The lectionary makes this part of the narrative option in the long version. Then next Sunday, Jesus appears to be even more extreme about the nature of his ministry and the coming of the reign of God. The best saying here is arguably this: "For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." The ancestors, Abraham, and the disciples walking with Jesus to Jerusalem are people whose heart is being formed in this heavenly treasure on the way. The Word of God is at work in us forming this same heart of a disciple, who is no long afraid of the things of this earth. ...

Homiletics Notes / 02.08.2019

The homily is not really about greed, but rather discipleship. A part of discipleship is holding things in perspective and proportion. This is discernment, for the disciple is always confronted with the way one ought to be in the world while living in the reign of God. Greed is too tempting a thing to talk about, and problematically may tend to turn the homily to the negative, and then miss the point altogether. The context of the journey to Jerusalem for Jesus is training in discipleship. Timothy Luke Johnson is spot on when he writes in Sacra Pagina, that the man in the crowd calling out his question, is clueless. Jesus turns the question into a teaching about the importance the reign of God, God's providential care over us, and the virtuous life which is wealth in the eyes of God. I'm sure we all have personal experience of greed or a story of corporate and political greed. After all, some !% have more wealth in the USA than the entire lower 50%. While all this is important when it comes to justice and concord in society, the real issue is racism, the notion that one kind of person is superior to another based on purely false human distinctions. This racism is the underpinnings of the rights to such greed; Colossians notes this truth in the last verse of the passage this Sunday. The man's question actually comes fully around, as Luke arranges this material, at the end of these saying of Jesus in Luke 12, 57-59, "Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?" Again, it is about the disciple discerning one's way through the world. ...

Homiletics Notes / 01.08.2019

Putting on a new self, of course, is one of the most difficult things in life. I just think of every time I've begun a diet; this summer, for example, it's how many nights in a row can I eat only a salad for supper. And that's among the simpler things. The older we get, the more we are set in our ways. Changing a personal trait, characteristic, or habit is very, very hard. So when Paul says in our Colossians passage to put on the new self, who is Jesus Christ, he lays down the challenge of discipleship. The old self must retreat and eventually vanish so that all is all in Christ, This is the life long work of prayer. When prayers is no longer just asking God for things and for favors, then prayer can become this depth of grace that actually results in putting on Christ. Just ask any of the saints, for this is how it is done. Vs. 13, the last verse in the passage, really fits the day. our country is in the throes of a white nationalist and supremacist rise, not totally unexpected always just below the surface. How many times Peter and Paul, following the practice of Jesus himself create a world without borders or human distinctions of any sort. The "here" must be the Eucharistic banquet, where all human made differences are set aside and no longer have any bearing, and even disappear. It is going to be very painful and many more people will be hurt and killed before it is over. White anger is totally unjustified as privilege and abundance have been theirs sine fine. The patriarchy and the whiteness are all of one fabric. How does the church and the disciple respond to this old situation? ...