PS: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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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.

St. Ambrose of Milan, Exposition of the Gospel of Luke

He rebuked his disciples… Perhaps he added this because the Lord knew that even the disciples would believe with difficulty in his passion and resurrection. Therefore he preferred to be the defender of his own passion and resurrection, so that faith would be born of action, and not discord of hearsay. Thus Christ refused to boast but preferred to seem unimportant… Do you boast, who are low born? Must you walk the same path that Christ walked…? This is the recognition of him, this is the imitation of him through obscurity and a good reputation, so that you may glory in the cross as he was glorified.

St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke

[Christ] utterly abolished death and wiped out destruction. He robbed hell, and overthrew the tyranny of the enemy. He took away the sin of the world, opened the gates above to the dwellers upon earth, and united earth to heaven. These things proved him to be, as I said, in truth God. He commanded them, therefore, to guard the mystery by a reasonable silence until the whole plan of the dispensation should arrive at a suitable conclusion.

St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

The law of death, which followed from the Transgression, prevailed upon us, and from it there was no escape. The thing that was happening was in truth both monstrous and unfitting. It would, of course, have been unthinkable that God should go back upon his word and that man, having transgressed, should not die; but it was equally monstrous that beings which once had shared the nature of the Word should perish and turn back again into non-existence through corruption… What – or rather Who was it that was needed for such grace and such recall as we required? Who, save the Word of God Himself, Who also in the beginning made all things out of nothing? … For he alone, being Word of the Father and above all, was in consequence both able to recreate all, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be an ambassador for all with the Father.

St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Thus it happened that two opposite marvels took place at once [on the cross]: the death of all was consummated in the Lord’s body; yet, because the Word was in it, death and corruption were in the same act utterly abolished. Death there there had to be, and death for all, so that the due of all might be paid. Wherefore, the Word, as I said, being Himself incapable of death, assumed a mortal body, that He might offer it as His own in place of all, and suffering for the sake of all through His union with it, “might bring to nought Him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver them who all their lifetime were enslaved by the fear of death” (Heb 2:14f).

Melito of Sardis, On Pascha

For the law was a word,
And the old was new,
Going out from Sion and Jerusalem,
And the commandment was grace,
And the type as a reality,
And the lamb was a son,
And the sheep was a man,
And the man was God…
This is Jesus the Christ,
To whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
This is the mystery of the Pascha.

By Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, O.P.