Preacher’s Sketchbook: First Sunday of Advent
November 27, 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.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
Men are ordained by the divine Providence towards a higher good than human fragility can experience in the present life. That is why it was necessary for the human mind to be called to something higher than the human reason here and now can reach, so that it would thus learn to desire something and with zeal tend towards something that surpasses the whole state of the present life.
Servant of God Luigi Giussani
“In our seeking, we must adhere first of all to our own natures and be mindful that the outcome of our search could well demand a radical change, a breaking through and beyond the limits of our own natures…. If Jesus came, he is, he exists, he remains in time with his unique, unrepeatable claim, and he transforms time and space, all time and space…. Man, in all of the ages of history, resists the consequence of the mystery made flesh, for, if this Event is true, then all aspects of life, including the sensible and the social, must revolve around it. And it is precisely man’s perception of being undermined, no longer being the measure of his own self, that places him in the position of refusal, on the pretext that he does not want to see the clouds lifting off the inaccessibility of the mystery obscured.”
Pope Benedict XVI (from Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives)
From the moment of his birth, [Jesus] belongs outside the realm of what is important and powerful in worldly terms…. Perhaps one could say that humanity’s silent and confused dreams of a new beginning came true in this event—in a reality such that only God could create…. Not only do [the three Magi] represent the people who have found the way to Christ: they represent the inner aspiration of the human spirit, the dynamism of religions and human reason toward him.
Father Alfred Delp, S.J.
The threefold meaning of Advent basically expresses the entire intrinsic meaning of Christianity: (1) the relation and vocation of all people to God, as well as guidance and providential direction through God; (2) the redeeming fulfillment in Christ; (3) the continuation and application of the redemption through the Church of Christ…. The deepest meaning of Advent cannot be understood by anyone who has not first experienced being terrified unto death about himself and his human prospects and likewise what is revealed within himself about the situation and constitution of mankind in general.
Father Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O.
Advent means a readiness to have eternity and time meet not only in Christ but in us, in our life, in our world, in our time. If we are to enter into the beginning of the new, we must accept the death of the old…. I begin to live to Christ when I come to the ‘end’ or to the ‘limit’ of what divides me from my fellow man: when I am willing to step beyond this end, cross the frontier, become a stranger, enter into the wilderness which is not ‘myself,’…where I am alone and defenseless in the desert of God.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Why don’t you think of Him as the one who is coming, who has been approaching from all eternity, the one who will someday arrive…. What keeps you from living your life as a painful and lovely day in the history of a great pregnancy? Don’t you see how everything that happens is again and again a beginning, and couldn’t it be His beginning, since, in itself, starting is always so beautiful?… Even with the trivial, with the insignificant (as long as it is done out of love) we begin… Celebrate Christmas in this devout feeling that perhaps he needs this very anguish of yours in order to begin…. Be patient and without bitterness, and realize that the least we can do is to make coming into existence no more difficult for Him than the earth does for spring when it wants to come.
Blessed John Paul II
Man stands between God and nothingness, and he must choose.
Sunday Preacher’s Resource
Additional Preaching Resources
- The Year of Faith: Annus Fidei website (Holy See) and the USCCB Website.
- Advent and Christmas on the website of the Holy See.
- The Holy See: Ordinary Time
- Fr. Thomas Rosica (Salt and Light Media)
- The Torch
- The King of Ages
- Fr. Francis Martin Website
- Biblius Clerus, a resource of the Congregation for the Clergy
- The Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P., for the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John