Preacher’s Sketchbook: Third Sunday of Advent

December 11, 2013

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.

St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Baptism of Christ

Where shall we place that oracle of Isaiah that cries to the wilderness, “Be glad, O thirsty wilderness. Let the desert rejoice and blossom as a lily, and the desolate places of Jordan shall blossom and shall rejoice”? … He speaks, by figure of the desert, of the soul that is parched and unadorned.

John Cassian, Conferences

And if we look with the elevated gaze of our mind at the condition wherein the heavenly and supernal virtues that are truly in the kingdom of God make their home, what else should it be thought to be than perpetual and continual joy?

St. Jerome, Commentary on Matthew

John feeds on locusts and wild honey. His clothes are made of camel’s hair. But people who are flatterers and run after money and covet wealth, and overflow with luxury and wear soft clothes—such people live in the palaces of kings. Thus it is shown that the austere way of life and the strict preaching must avoid the halls of kings and turn away from the palaces of the luxurious.

St. Jerome, Commentary on Matthew

John belonged to the order of the angels not by nature but by the importance of his task.

St. John Chrysostom, Letter to the Fallen Theodore

Consider the condition of the other life, so far as it is possible to consider it; for no words will suffice for an adequate description. But from the things which are told us, as if by means of certain riddles, let us try and get some indistinct vision of it…. [“sorrow and mourning will flee” (Isaiah 34.10). But even so], greater than all these things is the perpetual enjoyment of relationship with Christ in the company of angels and archangels and the higher powers.

St. John Chrysostom, Catena Aurea

Longsuffering is what we show toward those who can return it, and patience is how we act toward those who cannot do the same.

St. John Chrysostom, Catena Aurea

It is a great thing if we can give thanks with great joy. But there is such a thing as giving thanks out of fear, and also such a thing as giving thanks in grief. This is what Jo did when, in great suffering, he thanked God, saying “The Oord has given, the Lord has taken away.” Let no one say that he was not grieving over what had happened to him or that he did not feel it deeply…. For the devil also harms us not in order to take our possessions away so that we have nothing eft but so that when that happens he can force us to curse God because of it.

Isho’Dad of Merv, Commentaries

We should stop mocking the poor and doing them harm, complaining about them at the same time, because we shall be judged according to our cruelty and condemned by the righteous judge.

St. Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies

It seems almost as if John did not know the one he had pointed out; as if he did not know whether he was the same person he had proclaimed by prophesying, by baptizing, by pointing him out! We can resolves this question more quickly if we reflect on the time and order of the events. For when John is standing beside the river Jordan, he declares that this is the Redeemer of the world. But when he has been thrown into jail, he asks whether they were to look for another or whether he had come. This is not because he doubts that he is the Redeemer of the world. John wants to know whether he who had personally come in to the world would also descend personally into the courts of hell. For John had preceded Christ into the world and announced him there. He was now dying and preceding him to the nether world. This is the context in which he asked, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another.”


Sunday Preacher’s Resource

Third Sunday of Advent (2007)


Third Sunday of Advent

Additional Preaching Resources

Image: Francesco Raibolini, Calvary with St. Job (detail)