Preacher’s Sketchbook: Third Sunday of Easter
April 21, 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.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 599
Jesus’ violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God’s plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first sermon on Pentecost: “This Jesus (was) delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” This Biblical language does not mean that those who handed him over were merely passive players in a scenario written in advance by God.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 632
The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was “raised from the dead” presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection. This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 674
The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel”, for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” St. Paul echoes him: “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of “the full number of the Gentiles”, will enable the People of God to achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”, in which “God may be all in all”.
Bl. Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 79
We are the people of life because God, in his unconditional love, has given us the Gospel of life and by this same Gospel we have been transformed and saved. We have been ransomed by the “Author of life” (Acts 3:15) at the price of his precious blood. Through the waters of Baptism we have been made a part of him as branches which draw nourishment and fruitfulness from the one tree. Interiorly renewed by the grace of the Spirit, “who is the Lord and giver of life”, we have become a people for life and we are called to act accordingly.
Bl. Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, 26
No damage must be done to the harmony between faith and life: the unity of the Church is damaged not only by Christians who reject or distort the truths of faith but also by those who disregard the moral obligations to which they are called by the Gospel. The Apostles decisively rejected any separation between the commitment of the heart and the actions which express or prove it (cf. 1 John 2:3-6). And ever since Apostolic times the Church’s Pastors have unambiguously condemned the behavior of those who fostered division by their teaching or by their actions.
Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, Mass at Islinger Feld, Regensburg, September 12, 2006
We are not meant to waste our lives, misuse them, or spend them simply for ourselves. In the face of injustice we must not remain indifferent and thus end up as silent collaborators or outright accomplices. We need to recognize our mission in history and to strive to carry it out. What is needed is not fear, but responsibility – responsibility and concern for our own salvation, and for the salvation of the whole world. Everyone needs to make his or her own contribution to this end. But when responsibility and concern tend to bring on fear, then we should remember the words of Saint John: “My little ones, I am writing this to keep you from sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one” (1 John 2:1). “No matter what our hearts may charge us with – God is greater than our hearts and all is known to him” (1 John 3:20).
The Lord appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, as ye have heard, and saluted them, saying, “Peace be unto you.” This is peace indeed, and the salutation of salvation: for the very word salutation has received its name from salvation. And what can be better than that Salvation Itself should salute man? For Christ is our Salvation. He is our Salvation, who was wounded for us, and fixed by nails to the tree, and being taken down from the tree, was laid in the sepulcher. And from the sepulcher He arose, with His wounds healed, His scars kept. For this He judged expedient for His disciples, that His scars should be kept,where by the wounds of their hearts might be healed. What wounds? The wounds of unbelief. For He appeared to their eyes, exhibiting real flesh, and they thought they saw a spirit. It is no light wound, this wound of the heart. Yea, they have made a malignant heresy who have abided in this wound. But do we suppose that the disciples had not been wounded, because they were so quickly healed? Only, Beloved, suppose, if they had continued in this wound, to think that the Body which had been buried, could not rise again, but that a spirit in the image of a body, deceived the eyes of men: if they had continued in this belief, yea, rather in this unbelief, not their wounds, but their death would have had to be bewailed.
Bl. Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 22
All the Evangelists, when they describe the risen Christ’s meeting with his apostles, conclude with the “missionary mandate”: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,…and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:18-20 cf. Mk 16:15-18 Lk 24:46-49; Jn 20,21-23). This is a sending forth in the Spirit, as is clearly apparent in the Gospel of John: Christ sends his own into the world, just as the Father has sent him, and to this end he gives them the Spirit. Luke, for his part, closely links the witness the apostles are to give to Christ with the working of the Spirit, who will enable them to fulfill the mandate they have received.
Bl. Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 23
In Luke, mission is presented as witness (cf. Lk 24:48; Acts 1:8), centered especially on the resurrection (cf. Acts 1:22). The missionary is invited to believe in the transforming power of the Gospel and to proclaim what Luke presents so well, that is, conversion to God’s love and mercy, the experience of a complete liberation which goes to the root of all evil, namely sin.
Pope Benedict XVI, Homily for the Third Sunday of Easter, 2009
In the Gospel passage, St Luke mentions one of the appearances of the Risen Jesus. At the very beginning of the passage the Evangelist notes that the two disciples of Emmaus, who hurried back to Jerusalem, had told the Eleven how they recognized him in “the breaking of the bread”. And while they were recounting the extraordinary experience of their encounter with the Lord, he “himself stood among them”. His sudden appearance frightened the Apostles. They were fearful to the point that Jesus, in order to reassure them and to overcome every hesitation and doubt, asked them to touch him he was not a ghost but a man of flesh and bone and then asked them for something to eat. Once again, as had happened for the two at Emmaus, it is at table while eating with his own that the Risen Christ reveals himself to the disciples, helping them to understand the Scriptures and to reinterpret the events of salvation in the light of Easter. “Everything written about me”, he says, “in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled”. And he invites them to look to the future: “repentance and forgiveness of sins [shall] be preached in his name to all nations”. This very experience of repentance and forgiveness is relived in every community in the Eucharistic celebration, especially on Sundays. The Eucharist, the privileged place in which the Church recognizes “the Author of life” is “the breaking of the bread”, as it is called in the Acts of the Apostles. In it, through faith, we enter into communion with Christ, who is “the priest, the altar, and the lamb of sacrifice” and is among us. Let us gather round him to cherish the memory of his words and of the events contained in Scripture; let us relive his Passion, death and Resurrection. In celebrating the Eucharist we communicate with Christ, the victim of expiation, and from him we draw forgiveness and life. What would our lives as Christians be without the Eucharist? The Eucharist is the perpetual, living inheritance which the Lord has bequeathed to us in the Sacrament of his Body and his Blood and which we must constantly rethink and deepen so that, as venerable Pope Paul vi said, it may “impress its inexhaustible effectiveness on all the days of our earthly life” (Insegnamenti, V , p. 779). Nourished with the Eucharistic Bread, the Saints we are venerating today brought their mission of evangelical love to completion with their own special charisms in the various areas in which they worked.