Preacher’s Sketchbook: Third Sunday of Lent

March 2, 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. Ambrose, from Concerning Repentance

Moses, too, passing by things of this world, saw a great sight and said, “I will turn aside and see this great sight,” for had he been held by the fleeting pleasures of this world he would not have seen so great a mystery.

St. Augustine, from Explanations of the Psalms 106 (107)

Unless that land which was styled the land that flowed with milk and honey signified something great, through which, as by a visible token, he was leading those who understood his wondrous works to invisible grace and the kingdom of heaven, they could not be blamed for scorning that land, whose temporal kingdom we also ought to esteem as nothing, that we may love that Jerusalem which is free, the mother of us all, which is in heaven.

St. John Chrysostom, from Homilies on the Gospel of John

The words “He who is” mean that He exists always and is without beginning and that He really exists and exists as Lord and Master.

St. Ephrem the Syrian, from Hymns on Paradise

There was no water in the rock, yet oceans sprang forth from it. Just so did the Word fashion created things out of nothing.

St. Gregory of Nyssa, from On Perfection

We also will be a rock, imitating, as far as possible, in our changing nature, the unchanging and permanent nature of the Master.

St. John Chrysostom, from Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians

The Israelites were not in the land of promise when God did these things to them. Thus it was that he visited them with a double vengeance, because he did not allow them to see the land which had been promised to them, and he punished them severely as well.

St. Cyril of Alexandria, from Commentary on Luke

The Son is our Advocate with the Father, our propitiation and the gardener of our souls. He constantly prunes away whatever is harmful and fills us with rational and holy seeds so we may produce fruits for him. He spoke of himself, “A sower went out to sow his seed.” It does not influence the glory of the Son to assume the character of the vinedresser. The Father assumes it himself, without being exposed to any blame for so doing. The Son said to the holy Apostles, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. My Father is the Vinedresser.”

St. Ambrose

He promises that the hardness of their hearts shall be dug about by the Apostles’ spades, lest a heap of earth cover up and obscure the root of wisdom. And He adds, and dung it, that is, by the grace of humility, by which even the fig is thought to become fruitful toward the Gospel of Christ. Hence He adds, And if it bear fruit, well, that is, it shall be well, but if not, then after that you shall cut it down.

St. Augustine

The fig tree is the race of mankind. For the first man after he had sinned concealed with fig leaves his nakedness, that is, the members from which we derive our birth.



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