Preacher’s Sketchbook: Second Sunday of Easter (Low Sunday)
April 6, 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.
Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 15
Anyone who rereads in the New Testament the origins of the Church, follows her history step by step and watches her live and act, sees that she is linked to evangelization in her most intimate being: The Church is born of the evangelizing activity of Jesus and the Twelve. She is the normal, desired, most immediate and most visible fruit of this activity: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations.” Now, “they accepted what he said and were baptized. That very day about three thousand were added to their number…. Day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.” Having been born consequently out of being sent, the Church in her turn is sent by Jesus. The Church remains in the world when the Lord of glory returns to the Father. She remains as a sign–simultaneously obscure and luminous–of a new presence of Jesus, of His departure and of His permanent presence. She prolongs and continues Him. And it is above all His mission and His condition of being an evangelizer that she is called upon to continue. For the Christian community is never closed in upon itself. The intimate life of this community–the life of listening to the Word and the apostles’ teaching, charity lived in a fraternal way, the sharing of brea –this intimate life only acquires its full meaning when it becomes a witness, when it evokes admiration and conversion, and when it becomes the preaching and proclamation of the Good News. Thus it is the whole Church that receives the mission to evangelize, and the work of each individual member is important for the whole.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1025
To live in heaven is “to be with Christ.” The elect live “in Christ,” but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name. For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 635
Christ went down into the depths of death so that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Jesus, “the Author of life”, by dying destroyed “him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and (delivered) all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.” Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades”, so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”
Bl. Pope John Paul II, Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 29
In the fullness of time the Son of God, coming as the lamb who takes away and bears upon himself the sin of the world appears as the one who has the power both to judge and to forgive sins, and who has come not to condemn but to forgive and save. Now this power to ” forgive sins” Jesus confers through the Holy Spirit upon ordinary men, themselves subject to the snare of sin, namely his apostles: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” This is one of the most awe-inspiring innovations of the Gospel! He confers this power on the apostles also as something which they can transmit-as the church has understood it from the beginning-to their successors, charged by the same apostles with the mission and responsibility of continuing their work as proclaimers of the Gospel and ministers of Christ’s redemptive work. Here there is seen in all its grandeur the figure of the minister of the sacrament of penance who by very ancient custom is called the confessor.
Pope Benedict XVI, Wednesday Audience, 11 April 2007
To Mary Magdalene the Lord said: “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father”. These words surprise us, especially if we compare them to what, on the other hand, happened to Doubting Thomas. There in the Upper Room, the Risen One himself presented his hands and his side to the Apostle so that he could touch them and thereby be sure that it was truly he. In fact, the two episodes are not contradictory. On the contrary, the one helps us to understand the other. Mary Magdalene would have wanted to have her Lord as he was before, considering the Cross a tragic memory to be forgotten. Henceforth, however, there was no longer room for a merely human relationship with the Risen One. To meet him, we must not turn back but relate to him in a new way. We must move ahead! St Bernard underlines this: Jesus “invites us all to this new life, to this passing…. We will not see Christ with a backward glance”. This is what happened with Thomas. Jesus showed him his wounds, not to make him forget the Cross but to make it unforgettable in the future, too. It is towards the future, in fact, that we now turn our gaze. The disciple’s task is to witness to the death and Resurrection of his Master and to his new life. For this reason Jesus invited his unbelieving friend to “touch him”: he wanted him to witness directly to his Resurrection. Dear brothers and sisters, we too, like Mary Magdalene, Thomas and the other Apostles, are called to be witnesses of Christ’s death and Resurrection. We cannot keep this important news to ourselves. We must convey it to the whole world: “We have seen the Lord!”
Sunday Preacher’s Resource
Additional Preaching Resources
- The Year of Faith: Annus Fidei website (Holy See) and the USCCB Website.
- The Holy See: Easter
- 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