Preacher’s Sketchbook: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 6, 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.


Pope Benedict XVI:

“Leprosy constituted a kind of religious and civil death, and its healing a kind of resurrection. It is possible to see leprosy as a symbol of sin, which is the true impurity of heart that can distance us from God. It is not in fact the physical disease of leprosy that separates us from God as the ancient norms supposed but sin, spiritual and moral evil…. The sins that we commit distance us from God and, if we do not humbly confess them, trusting in divine mercy, they will finally bring about the death of the soul…. In his Passion Jesus will become as a leper, made impure by our sins, separated from God: he will do all this out of love, to obtain for us reconciliation, forgiveness, and salvation.”

Blessed John Paul II:

“In his messianic activity in the midst of Israel, Christ drew increasingly closer to the world of human suffering. ‘He went about doing good,’ and his actions concerned primarily those who were suffering and seeking help. He healed the sick,…freed people from deafness, from blindness, from leprosy, from the devil and from various physical disabilities…. Christ drew close above all to the world of human suffering through the fact of having taken this suffering upon his very self. During his public activity,…he became progressively more and more isolated and encircled by hostility and the preparations for putting him to death…. Precisely by means of this suffering he must bring it about ‘that man should not perish, but have eternal life.’ Precisely by means of his cross he must strike at the roots of evil, planted in the history of man and in human souls.”

Saint Catherine of Siena:

“O gentle eternal God, infinite sublimity! The darkness of sin made us unable to lift up our lowly affection by the light of understanding to your exaltedness…. By being saturated with disgrace you have filled us with blessedness. By enduring hunger you have sated us with your charity’s affection. By stripping yourself of life you have clothed us in grace. By being filled with shame yourself you have restored honor to us. By becoming darksome in your humanity you have given us back the light. By being stretched out on the cross you have embraced us. For us you have made a cavern in your open side, where we might have refuge in the face of our enemies, and in this cavern we can come to know your charity because by this you have shown that you wanted to give us more than you could give by your finite actions. There we have found the bath in which we have washed our soul’s face clean of the leprosy of sin.”

Monsignor Luigi Giussani:

“The greatest miracle, which left a deep imprint on the disciples every day, was not the healing of crippled legs, the cleansing of diseased skin, or the restoration of sight to the blind. The greatest miracle of all was impossible to evade. Nothing is more convincing to man than a gaze which takes hold of him and recognizes what he is, which reveals man to himself. Jesus saw inside man. No one could hide in front of him, and before him the depths of conscience had no secrets…. The ability to take hold of the heart of a man is the greatest, most persuasive miracle of all.”

Father Hans Urs von Balthasar:

“The Apostle Paul seeks as much as possible to be like his Lord. He cannot do what Christ uniquely does, namely, take the sins of mankind upon himself, but he can reach out to accept the physically, and especially the spiritually, diseased and give them healing by virtue of the power of Jesus. Rather than condescension, his accommodation of the sick and weak is an attitude of pure service, which can extend as far as a sharing in the vicarious suffering of Jesus for the Church.

Saint Clement of Alexandria:

“If you imitate Paul as he imitated Christ, then you will be imitating Christ as he represented God.”

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