Preacher’s Sketchbook: Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 20, 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.


Hans Urs von Balthasar

“Marriage is only true to itself if it is a kind of bracket that both transcends and contains all an individual’s cravings to “break out” of its bonds and assert himself. Marriage is that indissoluble reality which confronts with an iron hand all existence’s tendencies to disintegrate, and it compels the faltering person to grow, beyond himself, into real love by modeling his life on the form enjoined…. As persons, the spouses entrust themselves not only to the beloved ‘thou’ and to the biological laws of fertility and family; they entrust themselves foremost to a form with which they can wholly identify themselves even in the deepest aspects of their personality because this form extends through all the levels of life…. The life of a married person can henceforth be understood only in terms of this interior mystery.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas

“The Lord said that perfection of life consists in following him, not in any way whatever, but so that later one would not turn back. Hence he said, No man putting his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God. And although some of his disciples did turn back when the Lord asked, Will you also go away? Peter answered in the name of the others, Lord, to whom shall we go? So Augustine says, As Matthew and Mark relate, Peter and Andrew, without hauling their boats to the beach, as if to return to them, followed him as one commanding that they follow him. But this unswerving following of Christ is confirmed by a vow.”

Pope Benedict XVI:

“When Jesus questioned the Twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go?…’ In this way, Peter initiates the Church’s christological confession of faith. Though incomplete, his faith was nevertheless authentic and open—not a faith in something, but in someone; in Christ. Peter was not, however, free of human weakness, and in time he too betrays the Master. The school of faith, then, is not a triumphal march but a journey marked daily by suffering and love, trials, and faithfulness…. Having learned his own nothingness, Peter was then ready for his mission. That mission, made possible by our Lord’s acceptance of Peter’s fragile love and launched with the words “Follow me”, is marked with hope.”

Blessed Pope John Paul II:

“Our spirit is set in one direction, the only direction for our intellect, will, and heart is towards Christ our Redeemer, towards Christ, the Redeemer of man. We wish to look towards him because there is salvation in no one else but him, the Son of God, repeating what Peter said: ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’”

Servant of God Luigi Giussani:

“The correct position…before the question: ‘Do you also want to go away?’ was ‘We must follow you because you’re…the only case that’s so exceptional, where a person speaks in a way that always corresponds to the heart…. We can’t leave you just because we don’t understand these words.’… Before the exceptional fact of that man who always speaks…as no one else ever had, the most immediate and logical consequence is to follow…. Whoever went away…went away contradicting themselves…. ‘We may not understand, nevertheless no one speaks according to the human heart as you do, so if we go away from you, where shall we go? Life would have no more meaning.’ It was right to follow him, since otherwise they would have had to negate all the preceding months when they were with him, in which it become clear to them that that man was different from the rest.”



The 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)

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