In Seasons in the Word, Fr. John Sandell begins a journey through the liturgical year of the Gospel of Matthew (Year A). Seasons is a collection of homilies based on the Lectionary readings for each Sunday. They exude a quiet confidence in the message that the Word brings to people, week after week as they go about their daily lives. The focus is on the story, rather than the setting, on the present, rather than the past. Fr. Sandell appeals to the universal meaning of the stories, told anew through the seasons of the life of the church today. He has a conversational manner, inviting his listener to see what he sees. "John the Baptist must have been a strange man," and then you find yourself wondering, why do you say that? And there begins the conversation. When I finished reading this collection, I thought of St. Paul's statement in Romans, "nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ." (Romans 8:35). Fr. Sandell expresses that confidence through his homilies.
We talk so much about the universal nature of the Catholic Church, perhaps it would be worthwhile to put together a comparative collection of homilies preached around the globe, to find Fr. Sandell's conversation partners, fellow preachers in different countries, climates and cultures, and see how they relate to one another. In the meantime, Fr. Sandell's collection is available to those who need the assistance of an experienced pastor to frame their Sunday reflections.