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 / 25.09.2019

With last Sunday's reading from the prophet Amos, we get a scathing critique of our own economy. Everyone is happy that the economy is growing, fears of a looming recession notwithstanding. Remember, "It's the economy, stupid." In our eviscerate culture today, ethics, environment, and empathy count for nothing anymore; it's the money that matters. In this culture, people do not matter, only the money. Let's just tease out the key words from Amos. Complacent, comfortable, improvising, and "yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph." Frank Sinatra's "I Did It My Way" is right at home here. Dives, too. One has to admire the next generation, like the Swedish 15 year old, Greta Thunberg, who addressed the United Nations. Like the Pharisees at the supper when Jesus told this parable of Lazarus the poor man who "sneered at him" (Luke 16, 14), certain world leaders did the same. Like Amos she was totally in their face. Even the Church today feels very uncomfortable with the prophets, for example, not the Napa 'faith first', concerned with doctrinal purity above everything else amidst a very wealthy crowd. ...

Homiletics Notes / 24.09.2019

Typical of Luke, the details in the story are very carefully selected and pointed. First notice the theme of reversal. The reign of God turns everything upside down. The verses just before the story tell that the Pharisees at the table sneer at Jesus after hearing the first four parables of the scattered and the found. The picture created by inserting the dogs only emphasizes the disastrous state of the poor man. However he dies and goes to heaven, while the rich man dies and is buried in the earth. From below the earth, where Hades was imagined to be, he cries out for mercy. Not the Hebrew word for afterlife is here, Sheol, but the Greek conception in Hades, Dives first speech is full of ego centric language; he still doesn't get it. Abraham's retort is both a teaching and a reprimand. Heaven is a comfort after earthly discomfort. The chasm between heaven and the netherworld is unbridgeable, and it is implied that it is eternal. The second round of the dialogue sets up a teaching about the resurrection, which the Pharisees would have accepted; the teaching is an invitation to come back into the divine story. Abraham offers him Moses and the prophets, which supports the view that Jesus was himself deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. The final round of the dialogue has an outrageous request from Divesa: send someone from the dead back to earth. Abraham's response is also pithing to the response of people to the resurrection, a new teaching in the ancient world and very hard to accept. What happens next is ten more verses of sayings of Jesus about the rigors fo discipleship, and the great supper comes to an end. What a dinner! ...

Homiletics Notes / 23.09.2019

WE are writing forward to Ordinary Time 26 C, and we have the parable of Dives and Lazarus. "Purple garments and fine linens" suggests the imperial family, if not the emperor himself, because only they wore purple. Jesus is connecting the pharisees with the Romans. Sumptuous dining every day suggests an outrageous display of wealth. In contrast to the purple linen garments of the rich man, Lazarus wears a garment of sores. The licking dogs suggests his ritual impurity and proximity to death. The deaths of the two are identical but not where they find themselves afterwards. The netherworld is not quite the later understanding of Hell in Christian cosmology. It is the dialogue between the rich man and Abraham that is interesting, after the details of the setting are noted. Lazarus never says a word in all the parable, that appears only in Luke. The question is this; what is the consolation you wish: one here in the world or one in the world to come? It is also a parable about acceptance and rejection, about death and resurrection. ...