Preacher’s Sketchbook: Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 5, 2014
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.
Saint Augustine, Tractates on the Gospel of John
A good voice, brethren, it is; true and shepherd-like, the very voice of salvation in the tabernacles of the righteous. For it is easy to hear Christ, easy to praise the gospel, easy to applaud the preacher: but to endure unto the end, is peculiar to the sheep who hear the Shepherd’s voice. A temptation befalls you, endure thou to the end, for the temptation will not endure to the end. And what is that end to which you shall endure? Even till you reach the end of your pathway.
Saint Augustine, Tractates on the Gospel of John
For He seems to me to have meant, That they may have life in coming in, and have it more abundantly at their departure. For no one can pass out by the door— that is, by Christ— to that eternal life which shall be open to the sight, unless by the same door— that is, by the same Christ— he has entered His church, which is His fold, to the temporal life, which is lived in faith. Therefore, He says, “I have come that they may have life,” that is, faith, which works by love; Galatians 5:6 by which faith they enter the fold that they may live, for the just lives by faith: Romans 1:17 “and that they may have it more abundantly,” who, enduring unto the end, pass out by this same door, that is, by the faith of Christ; for as true believers they die, and will have life more abundantly when they come whither the Shepherd has preceded them, where they shall die no more.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of John
According to Chrysostom, Christ calls Sacred Scripture the door, according to “Pray for us also that God may open to us a door for the word” (Col 4:3). Sacred Scripture is called a door, as Chrysostom says, first of all, because through it we have access to the knowledge of God: “which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures” (Rom 1:2). Secondly, for just as the door guards the sheep, so Sacred Scripture preserves the life of the faithful: “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life” (5:39). Thirdly, because the door keeps the wolf from entering; so Sacred Scripture keeps heretics from harming the faithful: “Every scripture inspired by God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction” (2 Tim 3:16). So, the one who does not enter by the door is the one who does not enter by Sacred Scripture to teach the people.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld, Meditations on the Gospel
O Jesus, you said: “I am the door. If any one enters by me, he will be saved”… I do not want to content myself with reading your words, meditating upon the; help me, Lord, to apply them, live them, to make them part of my life. … Oh, that I may “enter through you” by loving you with all my heart… “enter through you” by imitating you… “enter through you” by obeying you. Sheep are united to their shepherd, because they look to him, follow him, and obey him; may I follow you and love you, my divine Shepherd, by copying their example; may I gaze upon you in contemplation, and follow you by imitating you, and oh! may I obey you.
The Church is a sheepfold whose one and indispensable door is Christ. It is a flock of which God Himself foretold He would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, although ruled by human shepherds; are nevertheless continuously led and nourished by Christ Himself, the Good Shepherd and the Prince of the shepherds, who gave His life for the sheep.
Saint John Paul II, Pastores dabo vobis
To today’s young people I say: Be more docile to the voice of the Spirit, let the great expectations of the Church, of mankind, resound in the depths of your hearts. Do not be afraid to open your minds to Christ the Lord who is calling. Feel his loving look upon you and respond enthusiastically to Jesus when he asks you to follow him without reserve.
Pope Francis, Homily for Chrism Mass 2013
A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little – I won’t say “not at all” because, thank God, our people take our oil from us anyway – misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, “has already received his reward”, and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”, shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men.
Sunday Preacher’s Resource
Additional Preaching Resources
- The USCCB: Easter Resources
- The Holy See: Easter
- 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: Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Infant Christ Offering a Drink of Water to John the Baptist