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 / 23.07.2019

"He was praying in a certain place . . ." when the disciples asked him, "Teach us to pray." Three teachings on prayer follow, and this is our Sunday reading for the Gospel. Most of Jesus' activity on the way to Jerusalem is teaching. Here we receive Luke's shortened version of the Our Father; we have traditionally used the version from the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew. It is not a ptroblem to imagine that there were several versions in circulation, first of all because the essential components of praise, intercession, and acknowledge of God's reign and providence are present. Luke's version leaves out the will of God, uses the word "sin" for trespasses, and compacts the idea of temptation avoidance with the final test, without mentioning the Evil One. Then follows two teachings on prayer: first regarding prayer as hospitality, and second, prayer as generosity. "Daily bread" is unfolded in the example of the man late at night begs bread from a neighbor for an unexpected guest. The teaching is about this hospitality of bread that leads to a teaching on persistence in prayer, especially when it seems as if one's petitions are unanswered. The second teaching flows from the midnight knock not the door. Ask, seek, and knock. God will answer prayers. Perhaps a bigger question is what exactly did first century Jewish prayer look like. The Siddur was already in development by the rabbis, and so there were elaborate formal prayers, often memorized. There was also a tradition of contemplative practices. ...

Homiletics Notes / 22.07.2019

Much has been made of the sins of Sodom and Gomorah. The current edition of the NAB has in Gn 19, 5 "that we might have sexual relations with them." One translation has "that we might abuse them." It is this violation of hospitality for which the cities are punished. Troubles begin with these cities in Gn 14 already, stories of violent warfare and unjust acquit ion of war booty, especially enslaving people. Because the Gospel reading which holds first place in the homiletics for the Sunday has nothing to do with homosexuality and the so-called homosexual agenda, it is arguably inappropriate to use the Sunday homily to go off on the topic. The Gospel is about prayer and hospitality, and this takes precedence. In any event the first reading from Genesis is also about prayer, petitioning and even arguing with God to save the cities. This aspect of the tory is much more interesting and relevant than other aspects of this story. Abraham seems to win the contests with God, but that the number in Lot's family falls short of the ten. Abraham's rhetorical skill is very entertaining, reflecting the cleverness of his rationale. Abraham is praying for his enemies, as Jesus commanded us to do. Go back to Gn 14 for the story of the battles of the four kings with Abraham victorious. We find this very difficult to do today in our culture. ...

Homiletics Notes / 20.07.2019

LIke Martha, Abraham has control of his household. He moves quickly; they all respond in haste to his orders. It is not just the servants but Abraham and Sarah themselves who engage in the service of hospitality. The "little food" is a lot; a steer would have provided five hundred pounds of meat, or less if you consider the breeding stock of that time, but still. In return the divine guest, the Lord present in the three, offer a greater gift to Abraham and Sarah, a son! dThe Psalm responsorial praises people like Abraham and Sarah as exemplars of the just and holy person. In both stories, one is left to wonder what the conversation under the great oak tree was about, or whatever Jesus was telling Mary. Moses or Luke do not tell us. Perhaps this is left up to our imaginations, or to suppose that the conversations were about friendship, holy love, laughter (God forbid that a Catholic should think that Jesus laughed!). What would you have heard at one of these meals? What would you have said or asked? What gift would the guest give you? What do you have to offer the guest? ...