Preacher’s Sketchbook: Second Sunday of Advent
December 3, 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.
John Paul II, Reconciliatio et paenitentia
Baptism is of course a salvific washing which, as St Peter says, is effective “not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience.” It is death, burial and resurrection with the dead, buried and risen Christ. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit through Christ. But this essential and original constituent of Christian baptism, far from eliminating the penitential element already present in the baptism which Jesus himself received from John “to fulfill all righteousness,” in fact enriches it. In other words, it is a fact of conversion and of reintegration into the right order of relationships with God, of reconciliation with God, with the elimination of the original stain and the consequent introduction into the great family of the reconciled.
John Paul II, Homily, June 24, 2001
Saint John the Baptist is above all a model of faith. Following the example of the great Prophet Elijah, in order to listen more attentively to the word of the one Lord of his life, he leaves everything and withdraws to the desert, from which he would issue the resounding call to prepare the way of the Lord. He is a model of humility, because to those who saw in him not only a Prophet, but the Messiah himself, he replied: “Who do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie”. He is a model of uprightness and courage in defending the truth, for which he was prepared to pay in his person, even to the point of imprisonment and death.
Pope Francis, Homily, June 24, 2013
“The Church exists to proclaim, to be the voice of a Word, her husband, who is the Word. The Church exists to proclaim this Word until martyrdom. Martyrdom precisely in the hands of the proud, the proudest of the Earth. John could have made himself important, he could have said something about himself. ‘But I never think’, only this: he indicated, he felt himself to be the voice, not the Word. This is John’s secret. Why is John holy and without sin? Because he never, never took a truth as his own. He would not be an ideologue. The man who negated himself so that the Word could come to the fore. And we, as a Church, we can now ask for the grace not to become an ideological Church … ” The Church, he added, must hear the Word of Jesus and raise her voice, proclaim it boldly. “That – he said – is the Church without ideologies, without a life of its own: the Church which is the mysterium lunae which has light from her Bridegroom and diminish herself so that He may grow.”
Sunday Preacher’s Resource
Additional Preaching Resources
- The USCCB: Advent Resources
- The Holy See: Advent
- Fr. Thomas Rosica (Salt and Light Media)
- The Torch
- 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
Image: Vasily Polenov, Has Been in Desert