Preacher’s Sketchbook: The Resurrection of the Lord

April 2, 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. Iranaeus, Against the Heresies

At the beginning, God, out of His generosity, formed man. For their salvation, He chose the patriarchs. And to teach the ignorant to follow God, He formed a people in advance… He thus accustomed man to bear His Spirit and to live in communion with God… In Egypt, to those who could not see Him, He gave Himself as a guide. In the desert, to the restless, He gave a most suitable law. In the promised land, to those who entered, He supplied a noble inheritance. For those who returned to the Father, He killed the fatted calf and presented them with the finest robe. In all these different ways, He prepared mankind for the harmonious music of salvation.

St. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine

Moreover, as the use of remedies is the way to health, so this remedy took up sinners to heal and restore them… in the same way the Wisdom of God in healing man has applied Himself to his cure, being Himself healer and medicine both in one. Seeing, then, that man fell through pride, He restored him through humility. We were ensnared by the wisdom of the serpent: we are set free by the foolishness of God. Moreover, just as the former was called wisdom, but was in reality the folly of those who despised God, so the latter is called foolishness, but is true wisdom in those who overcome the devil. We used our immortality so badly as to incur the penalty of death: Christ used His mortality so well as to restore us to life.

Pope Benedict XVI, Introduction to Christianity

That man is most fully man, indeed the true man, who is most unlimited, who not only has contact with the infinity—the Infinite Being!—but is one with him: Jesus Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI, Introduction to Christianity

To the Christian, faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is an expression of certainty that the saying that seems to be only a beautiful dream is in fact true: “Love is strong as death” (Song 8:6).

Pope Benedict XVI, Introduction to Christianity

[L]ove is the foundation of immortality, and immortality proceeds from love alone. This statement… also means that he who has love for all has established immortality for all. That is precisely the meaning of the biblical statement that his Resurrection is our life.

Pope Benedict XVI, Introduction to Christianity

[T]he evangelist makes it clear that the encounter with the risen Christ lies on a quite new plane; he tries to describe the indescribable in terms of the liturgical facts. He thereby provides a theology of the Resurrection and a theology of the liturgy: one encounters the risen Christ in the word and in the sacrament; worship is the way in which he becomes touchable to us and recognizable as the living Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth II

The Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead. If this were taken away, it would still be possible to piece together from the Christian tradition a series of interesting ideas about God and men, about man’s being and his obligations, a kind of religious world view: but the Christian faith itself would be dead… Only if Jesus is risen has anything really new occurred that changes the world and the situation of mankind. Then he becomes the criterion on which we can rely. For then God has truly revealed himself.

Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth II

But could [the Resurrection] really be true? Can we—as men of the modern world—put our faith in such testimony? … [We] are told that there is a further dimension, beyond what was previously known. Does that contradict science? Can there really only ever be what there has always been? Can there not be something unexpected, something unimaginable, something new? If there really is a God, is he not able to create a new dimension of human existence, a new dimension of reality altogether? Is not creation actually waiting for this last and highest “evolutionary leap,” for the union of the finite with the infinite, for the union of man and God, for the conquest of death?



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