Preacher’s Sketchbook: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 16, 2013

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary by Tintoretto (1570-75)
Christ in the House of Martha and Mary by Tintoretto (1570-75)

Preacher’s Sketchbook:

Sketchbook_Logo6Each 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 Benedict XVI, Rome 2007

In this regard, Jesus says explicitly: “Blessed … are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lc 11,28). Indeed, to Martha worried about many things, he said that “one thing is needful” (Lc 10,42). And from the context it becomes evident that this “one thing” is the obedient listening to the Word. Therefore, listening to the Word of God is a priority for our ecumenical commitment. Indeed, it is not we who act or who organize the unity of the Church. The Church does not make herself or live of herself, but from the creative Word that comes from the mouth of God.

Bl. Pope John Paul II, 2001

Mary gave herself totally to the Lord, placing all her trust in the word of God. How she would like to teach you to dwell in the power of this Word and to choose, like the other Mary, the better part (cf. Lk Lc 10,42). In today’s world the disciples of Christ can easily be dispersed, because the abundance of material goods can tear them away from what is essential and because pastoral needs are many. As I recently wrote to the whole Church, we need to contemplate the face of Christ (cf. Novo Millennio ineunte, II), to pursue ever more deeply the mystery of his person since he is the true font from which we draw the love we would like to give. Do not let this essential bond of consecration to Christ come undone! Choose rather to follow the Lord humbly, in Mary’s discreet way! Work with her to bring your lives into union with the Spirit since, as St Francis de Sales reminds us, “one of the necessary conditions for receiving the Holy Spirit will be to be with Mary” (Sermon I for Pentecost), and allow him to configure you ever more to Christ! Then your life and your mission will find their deep meaning and will bear fruit for the men and women of today!

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 182, a. 1

The contemplative life consists in a certain liberty of mind. For Gregory says (Hom. iii in Ezech.) that “the contemplative life obtains a certain freedom of mind, for it thinks not of temporal but of eternal things.” And Boethius says (De Consol. v, 2): “The soul of man must needs be more free while it continues to gaze on the Divine mind, and less so when it stoops to bodily things.” Wherefore it is evident that the active life does not directly command the contemplative life, but prescribes certain works of the active life as dispositions to the contemplative life; which it accordingly serves rather than commands. Gregory refers to this when he says (Hom. iii in Ezech.) that “the active life is bondage, whereas the contemplative life is freedom.”

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 182, a. 2

A sacrifice is rendered to God spiritually when something is offered to Him; and of all man’s goods, God specially accepts that of the human soul when it is offered to Him in sacrifice. Now a man ought to offer to God, in the first place, his soul, according to Si 30,24, “Have pity on thy own soul, pleasing God”; in the second place, the souls of others, according to Apoc. 22:17, “He that heareth, let him say: Come.” And the more closely a man unites his own or another’s soul to God, the more acceptable is his sacrifice to God; wherefore it is more acceptable to God that one apply one’s own soul and the souls of others to contemplation than to action. Consequently the statement that “no sacrifice is more acceptable to God than zeal for souls,” does not mean that the merit of the active life is preferable to the merit of the contemplative life, but that it is more meritorious to offer to God one’s own soul and the souls of others, than any other external gifts.



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