Twenty-Ninth Sunday of the Year (Year A)
October 10, 2011
Each week, a Dominican member of the Provincial Preaching Advisory board prepares this Preacher’s Sketchbook in anticipation of the upcoming Sunday Mass. The idea of the Preacher’s Sketchbook is to take quotations from the authority of the Church–the Pope, the Fathers of the Church, documents of the Councils, the saints–that can help spark ideas for the Sunday homily. Just as an artist’s sketchbook preserves ideas for later elaboration, so we hope the Preacher’s Sketchbook will provide some ideas for homiletical elaboration.
Bl. John Paul II, Centessimus Annus, 51
All human activity takes place within a culture and interacts with culture. For an adequate formation of a culture, the involvement of the whole man is required, whereby he exercises his creativity, intelligence, and knowledge of the world and of people. Furthermore, he displays his capacity for self-control, personal sacrifice, solidarity and readiness to promote the common good. Thus the first and most important task is accomplished within man’s heart. The way in which he is involved in building his own future depends on the understanding he has of himself and of his own destiny. It is on this level that the Church’s specific and decisive contribution to true culture is to be found. The Church promotes those aspects of human behavior which favor a true culture of peace, as opposed to models in which the individual is lost in the crowd, in which the role of his initiative and freedom is neglected, and in which his greatness is posited in the arts of conflict and war. The Church renders this service to human society by preaching the truth about the creation of the world, which God has placed in human hands so that people may make it fruitful and more perfect through their work; and by preaching the truth about the Redemption, whereby the Son of God has saved mankind and at the same time has united all people, making them responsible for one another. Sacred Scripture continually speaks to us of an active commitment to our neighbor and demands of us a shared responsibility for all of humanity.
Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 28
Justice is both the aim and the intrinsic criterion of all politics. Politics is more than a mere mechanism for defining the rules of public life: its origin and its goal are found in justice, which by its very nature has to do with ethics. The State must inevitably face the question of how justice can be achieved here and now. But this presupposes an even more radical question: what is justice? The problem is one of practical reason; but if reason is to be exercised properly, it must undergo constant purification, since it can never be completely free of the danger of a certain ethical blindness caused by the dazzling effect of power and special interests. Here politics and faith meet. Faith by its specific nature is an encounter with the living God—an encounter opening up new horizons extending beyond the sphere of reason. But it is also a purifying force for reason itself. From God’s standpoint, faith liberates reason from its blind spots and therefore helps it to be ever more fully itself. Faith enables reason to do its work more effectively and to see its proper object more clearly. This is where Catholic social doctrine has its place: it has no intention of giving the Church power over the State. Even less is it an attempt to impose on those who do not share the faith ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to faith. Its aim is simply to help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just. The Church’s social teaching argues on the basis of reason and natural law, namely, on the basis of what is in accord with the nature of every human being. It recognizes that it is not the Church’s responsibility to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather, the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. Building a just social and civil order, wherein each person receives what is his or her due, is an essential task which every generation must take up anew. As a political task, this cannot be the Church’s immediate responsibility. Yet, since it is also a most important human responsibility, the Church is duty-bound to offer, through the purification of reason and through ethical formation, her own specific contribution towards understanding the requirements of justice and achieving them politically. The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.
Pope Benedict XVI, On the Occasion of the 14th “Day of Consecrated Life”, 2010
In fact, it is precisely and only on the bases of this faith, on this profession of faith in Jesus Christ, the only and definitive Mediator, that consecrated life, a life consecrated to God through Christ has meaning in the Church. It has meaning only if he is truly the mediator between God and us; otherwise it would merely be a form of sublimation or of escape. If Christ were not truly God and at the same time fully man, the foundation of Christian life as such would be lacking as, in quite a significant way, would the foundation of every Christian consecration of man and woman. The consecrated life, in fact, “powerfully” witnesses and expresses the reciprocal seeking of God and man, the love that attracts them to each other. The very fact of being consecrated makes the consecrated person, as it were, a “bridge” to God for all who encounter him or her a reminder, a reference point. And this is all by virtue of the mediation of Jesus Christ, the Consecrated One of the Father. He is the foundation! He who shared our weaknesses so that we might participate in his divine nature
Sunday Preacher’s Resource: Twenty-Ninth Sunday of the Year (Year A)
Readings for Twenty-Ninth Sunday of the Year (Year A)
Additional Preaching Resources
- Fr. Francis Martin Website
- Biblius Clerus, a resource of the Congregation for the Clergy
- The Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P., for the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John