In my parish I never heard a sermon at all (never wondered why, but possibly because the assembly is hybrid Russian-Italian and he can't repeat the homily twice in two languages? I dunno). It must be said that I don't miss it... the Reader and the Priest sing so wonderfully the Scriptures that they seem to penetrate my mind, word by word, revealing their mysteries.
Anyway, I think that the ability to teach is a rare gift priests should pray for. It is difficult to get the attention of people standing for some 1 hour// 1 hour 1/2, so the parish priest should find, as it's been said, both Scriptural and Patristic sources to strengthen the faith in the subject of the Gospel. Up to now, the only good church orator I found was a young RC priest who teaches in Bergamo's seminary. I listened to his homily two years ago on the occasion of my patron saint's feast (which is also my town's feast). He narrated st. Alexander's life always keeping the Gospel of the day in the core of the sermon, and he used such words which really made my heart burn. He is truly an atypical RC priest, how I'd like him to be Orthodox! LOL Maybe one day, who knows?
That said, I think that using the lives of the saints associated with the daily Gospel, as that young priest did, is really a good choice, and strengthens the link of every Christian to the predecessors in the faith as living witnesses of God's grace. Just my opinion of course.
In Christ, Alex