Preacher’s Sketchbook: Second Sunday of Lent
February 29, 2012
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.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, IIIa, q. 45, a. 4, ad 2
Just as in the Baptism, where the mystery of the first regeneration was proclaimed, the operation of the whole Trinity was made manifest, because the Son Incarnate was there, the Holy Ghost appeared under the form of a dove, and the Father made Himself known in the voice; so also in the transfiguration, which is the mystery of the second regeneration, the whole Trinity appears–the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Holy Ghost in the bright cloud; for just as in baptism He confers innocence, signified by the simplicity of the dove, so in the resurrection will He give His elect the clarity of glory and refreshment from all sorts of evil, which are signified by the bright cloud.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, IIIa, q. 45, a. 1
Our Lord, after foretelling His Passion to His disciples, had exhorted them to follow the path of His sufferings (Matthew 16:21-24). Now in order that anyone go straight along a road, he must have some knowledge of the end: thus an archer will not shoot the arrow straight unless he first see the target. Hence Thomas said (John 14:5): “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?” Above all is this necessary when hard and rough is the road, heavy the going, but delightful the end. Now by His Passion Christ achieved glory, not only of His soul, not only of His soul, which He had from the first moment of His conception, but also of His body; according to Luke (24:26): “Christ ought [Vulgate: ‘ought not Christ’] to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory (?).” To which glory He brings those who follow the footsteps of His Passion, according to Acts 14:21: “Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.” Therefore it was fitting that He should show His disciples the glory of His clarity (which is to be transfigured), to which He will configure those who are His; according to Philippians 3:21: “(Who) will reform the body of our lowness configured [Douay: ‘made like’] to the body of His glory.” Hence Bede says on Mark 8:39: “By His loving foresight He allowed them to taste for a short time the contemplation of eternal joy, so that they might bear persecution bravely.”
Bl. Charles de Foucauld (Meditations)
How wonderful Abraham’s obedience was! What an example for us, O God… and all the more admirable because it was not only that he acted against the inclinations of his heart… more was involved here than even a heartfelt sacrifice… You told him to do the opposite of what seemed right to him… But he trusted in you, and knowing that it was you who spoke, he obeyed, and with reason, for you are justice and holiness personified… How close faith is to obedience! Faith is the beginning of every good and obedience is its completion. O Abraham, may you blessed! Isaac, who so meekly allowed yourself to be bound to the altar, may you be blessed! My God, who make such virtues spring from men, may you blessed from age to age for ever! Love means obeying you, obeying you with this promptness and this faith, in ways that rend the heart and turn the mind upside down… love is immediate, absolute sacrifice to your will and glory of what is most dear… It is what you did, in a wonderful way, O Abraham, getting up at once in the night to go to sacrifice your son. It is what you will do, O Son of God, coming form heaven to earth to live that life and die that death! … My Lord and my God, so may it be with me also according to your most holy will.