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 / 08.04.2020

The Easter Sunday readings, the same in the ABC cycle each year, begin in the house of Cornelius the 'Roman centurion. The narrative is as much about the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus and the whole of the kerygmak, as it is a incident about the first encounter with the Greek-Roman world. Here the apostles are taking the gospel at Jesus' command to the whole world. The encounter in Acts 10 is really amazing. Peter assumes at the outset that Cornelius and his household has heard of all that has happened in Jerusalem; this is why Cornelius sends for Peter in the first place. Peter recites the core story, almost unadorned with no excess language, of Jesus. The origin of Jesus, his ministry, his crucifixion, the resurrection, his appearance, and the great commission. The great commission is to proclaim this fundamental truth to everyone. It is not an exclusive or ethnic faith, transcending all wall, doors, thresholds, and borders. The result is the baptism and confirmation and eucharist for the household of Cornelius. We are left with several questions: the need for the Catholic Church to repent its racist ways, the hunger Catholics for the Eucharist after this months of shelter in place and social distancing, the efficacy of the church's preaching/homiletics, and the capacity for Catholics for knowledge of this core kergyma. Sadly, too many priests, will begin Easter with a fake humor which upbraids the reindeer and rabbit crowd. Instead of taking the moment to have a word that speaks the resurrection and this great forgiveness of sins. This is Easter! ...

Homiletics Notes / 06.04.2020

Easter 041220 This is going to be a Holy Week. We can decide to follow Jesus or the insanity of U.S. culture, politics, and economics at this moment. This is the week that will call everything into question, for we now have more questions than ever. In our newfound isolation and sheltering, we have a rich opportunity to turn aside from earthly things and think prayerful about the things of heaven. As life gets stripped down to its bare bones, we will discover what we are really made of, and we will know like never before in our lifetimes, that we are in the same spiritual and psychological space as the disciples. I am going to begin with the "Alleluia" preceding the gospel. It is strange, because its proclamation is about a sacrificial death; even in that moment of abundant joy, we remain confronted with this death, which typically avoid talking or thinking about at all. More than that, in the very next part of the versicle is the invitation to feast! This announcement and invitation gets to the heart of the Paschal Mystery. How to hold both of these at each end of each spectrum. Both of these get to the core of the human condition. The Tridentine Catholic will continue to focus on the sacrifice, the more gory the better, while the John XXIII Catholic looks for the joy in the divine and holy presence of God in our lives. Yet why does God have this weakness for the human person? This just can't merely be our projection onto our contrived divinity. There's something deeper here that arises from our human capacity for awe and wonder, which in fact we do share with the all the animal and plant domains. ...

Homiletics Notes / 31.03.2020

The first reading, an admonition to those who proclaim the Word of God, is an interesting Palm Sunday reading as we set out feet on the journey of Holy Week. Unfortunately, few homilists have a well-trained tongue. I've been listening to various on line Masses, and the preaching is worse than I had imagined. This is a sign that Catholics do not attend Mass for the homily, but they really come for the Eucharist. I completely understand why homiletics classes in major seminaries strongly recommend a homily between 8-10 minutes. Yet, then when the homilists do open their mouths it is very rarely to rouse the weary; too often the open mouth is filled with scorn, finger pointing, and putting people down. It's really and truly awful. This situation arises when then Church values legality more than an authentic life in Christ. The homilist is tempted to print out some generic homily from the internet and safely read it to the people. There's no heart in it. I know this because for seven years I traveled and preached for the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (now renamed to Unbound!) nd Sunday after Sunday (317 parishes in those seven years) the ambo had the last weekend internet printout of a homily. We now live in a very weary time of fear and anxiety. People need a word to rouse them. At the end of this Hoy Week the word will be Alleluia, which we haven't heard since before Ash Wednesday. Next, note that the Word come from listening to the cry of the poor, the weary, the refugee. This word never come from the political elite of the day. So the homily must begin in listening. It is this listening that sets our face like flint, because in the voices of the weary we hear the voice of God calling to us. ...