Preacher’s Sketchbook: Baptism of the Lord

January 9, 2013

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.


St. Athanasius, from Life of St. Antony

With the help of God, it is easily possible to distinguish the presence of the good and the bad: A vision of the holy ones is not agitated. “He shall not protest and cry out; none will hear his voice.” It occurs so quietly and gently that joy and gladness and confidence are at once born in the soul…. The soul’s thoughts remain untroubled and calm, so that, enlightened of itself, it contemplates those who appear.

St. Augustine, from Reply to Faustus the Manichean

It is true we have not yet risen as Christ has, but we are said to have risen with him on account of the hope which we have in him. So gain he says: “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration.” Evidently, what we obtain in the washing of regeneration is not the salvation itself but the hope of it. And yet, because this hope is certain, we are said to be saved, as if the salvation were already bestowed.

St. John Chrysostom, from Homilies on 1 Corinthians

“God is no respecter of person.” Rather, if he finds even one person in such a multitude doing what pleases him, far from scorning him he regales him with his particular providence and shows the greater care for him the more closely he has chosen the way of virtue at a time when there are others who are bent on evil.

St. Ambrose, from Exposition of the Gospel of Luke

Why like a dove? For the grace of he washing requires simplicity, so that we may be innocent like doves. The grace of the washing requires peace, as in an earlier image the dove brought to the ark that which alone was inviolable by the flood. He of whom the dove was the image, who now deigned to descend in the form of a dove, taught me that in that branch, in that ark, was the image of peace and of the Church. In the midst of the floods of the world, the Holy Spirit brings its fruitful peace to its Church.

Pope Benedict XVI, from Homilies

We perceive in a new way that Christianity is not merely an individual, spiritual reality, a simple subjective decision that I take, but something real and concrete, we could also say something material. Adoption as children of God, of the Trinitarian God, is at the same time being accepted into the family of the Church, it is admission as brothers and sisters into the great family of Christians. And only if, as children of God, we are integrated as brothers and sisters into the reality of the Church can we say “Our Father,” to our Heavenly Father. This prayer always implies the “we” of God’s family.



Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Sunday Preacher’s Resource

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord:  2008, 2009, and 2010.

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