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 / 08.03.2019

The agricultural setting of the harvest feast in the reading from Deuteronomy reminds me of the hay harvest barn dance and food fest my grandparents put on very year in mid August. Everyone was invited. It was a great time and long remembered. By late August in northern Wisconsin the weather was already filled with Fall, and winter coming. To me, it has become somewhat romanticized, in a way that I can imagine the ancient Israelites remembered the day before city life when their culture was nomadic and agricultural. Life seemed simpler and more direct, uncomplicated. Even the simple relationship with God portrayed in this scene got complicated by centuries of traditions and add-ons. Even today, we sometimes find ourselves yearning for such a world. Yet, we still can have the bringing of gifts, a sharing with the stranger and alien, a rejoicing with a feast, and most importantly the presence of God directly in our lives. What gets in the way? Our calloused hearts and fisted hands. What can we also do: ensure the real "catholicity" in our parishes by our hospitality to the strangers and the alien. A typical Sunday Mass should look like a cross section of the world. Everyone wants this happiness: security, peace, prosperity, children. And God promises these things, just not in the monetized way that we think as Americans. The happiness comes in this scene because of the sharing and the thanksgiving. The Psalm 91 prayer continues this same theme of trust in God and the fulfillment of God's promises. Vs. 10-11 have comforting lines about our Guardian Angels. "For to His angels he has given command about you." ...

Homiletics Notes / 04.03.2019

The opening verse intends to remind of the Exodus and the events in the desert. The prophets typically saw the desert as a place of encountering God, a place of purification and simplification from the chaos of other spaces, and a place of covenant. The three temptations just abut follow the pattern of the traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, or their opposites of money, power, fame. In the last verse, "he departed from him for a time" suggests that there will always be temptations for the disciple; the evil one is relentless. But the desert trains the disciple of Jesus to resist temptations. Jesus' own immersion in scripture enable to say "No!" The Deuteronomy readings reflects a very early stage in the development of ritual, well before animal sacrifices and before the temple. It takes place entirely in the natural world and is vegetarian. The text tells the ancient story of Abraham; the Exodus portion does not mention Moses. The ritual ends in a celebration. Vs 11 just after our reading, reminds the people to INCLUDE the aliens among them. ...