It isn't often that a book of sermons--or ""homilies,"" as current usage would have it--is worth reviewing, or, for that matter, worth reading. One can usually depend on Sunday morning's spoken word for a more than adequate ration of pious platitudes. This book, however, is different. It comprises fifty-two short and thoroughly intelligible reflections on the gospel message of each Sunday in the liturgical year, in which the author--and presumably the orator--has said What he had to say in plain English and then stopped. Gone are the amateurish rhetorical flourishes of the ""old school,"" on the one hand; and, on the other, there is no artificial attempt to be ""folksy"" or cute. Consequently, these homilies are as good for meditation as they must have been for listening, and they be recommended to two classes of Catholics: first, laymen whom circumstances have forced to conclude that sermonizing and irrelevance are synonymous; secondly, those priests whose sermons inadvertently provide their auditors only with an occasion for self-mortification.