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

September 24, 2012

Each week, a Dominican member of the Province of St. Joseph’s 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.


Bl. Pope John Paul II, October 22, 1980

The redemption of the body does not indicate, however, ontological evil as a constituent attribute of the human body. It only points out man’s sinfulness, as a result of which he has, among other things, lost the clear sense of the nuptial meaning of the body, in which interior mastery and the freedom of the spirit is expressed.

Pope Benedict XVI, February 26, 2012

As we read in the Book of the Imitation of Christ, “as long as he lives, man is never wholly free from the temptation… but with patience and true humility we become stronger than any enemy” (Liber I, c. XIII , Vatican City 1982, 37), patience and humility to follow the Lord every day, learning to build our life not outside of Him or as if He did not exist, but in Him and with Him, because He is the source of true life. The temptation has always been present in human history to remove God, to order our lives and the world on our own, relying solely on our own abilities.

Bl. Pope John Paul II, Reconciliation and Penance, 8

In intimate connection with Christ’s mission, one can therefore sum up the church’s mission, rich and complex as it is, as being her central task of reconciling people: with God, with themselves, with neighbor, with the whole of creation; and this in a permanent manner since, as I said on another occasion, “the church is also by her nature always reconciling.”… The church is reconciling inasmuch as she shows man the paths and offers the means for reaching this fourfold reconciliation. The paths are precisely those of conversion of heart and victory over sin, whether this latter is selfishness or injustice, arrogance or exploitation of others, attachment to material goods or the unrestrained quest for pleasure. The means are those of faithful and loving attention to God’s word; personal and community prayer; and in particular the sacraments, true signs and instruments of reconciliation, among which there excels, precisely under this aspect, the one which we are rightly accustomed to call the sacrament of reconciliation or penance.

Bl. Pope John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae

One who teaches in this way has a unique title to the name of “Teacher.” Throughout the New Testament, especially in the Gospels, how many times is He given this title of Teacher! Of course the Twelve, the other disciples, and the crowds of listeners call Him “Teacher” in tones of admiration, trust and tenderness. Even the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the doctors of the law, and the Jews in general do not refuse Him the title: “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you”; “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” But above all, Jesus Himself at particularly solemn and highly significant moments calls Himself Teacher: “You call me teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am”; and He proclaims the singularity, the uniqueness of His character as teacher: “You have one teacher,” the Christ. One can understand why people of every kind, race and nation have for 2,000 years in all the languages of the earth given Him this title with veneration, repeating in their own ways the exclamation of Nicodemus: “We know that you are a teacher come from God.” This image of Christ the Teacher is at once majestic and familiar, impressive and reassuring. It comes from the pen of the evangelists and it has often been evoked subsequently in iconography since earliest Christian times, so captivating is it.



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