n Sunday, December 3rd, Dominican Sister of Amityville Margaret (Connie) Kavanagh preached to a joyful crowd. Sisters from a number of Dominican congregations gathered at the Mariandale Center to bless the Benincasa Community, and to invite them to continue to live out the Dominican Charism as a lay intentional community.

Below is Sister’s preaching from the day:

This is the day our God has made, let us rejoice and be glad!

Truly, this is a day for us to rejoice, to reflect, to befriend one another. It is the first Sunday of Advent, a time in the liturgical year that focuses on joy, the joy of anticipation. And, it is a day to celebrate the ongoing commitment of the Benincasa Community—Jimmy, Karen, and Sean—to the Dominican charism.

The readings chosen for this ritual call each of us to hope for a future where peace will reign. As I reflected on the readings over the past weeks, the word “befriend” seemed to take hold of me.

If we listen deeply to Isaiah, we realize that he was speaking at a time comparable to the situation of our own day. We are acutely aware of so much social breakdown, so much violence and disarray here at home and throughout the world, so much plundering of our earth. We witness the plight of our Iraqi and Syrian sisters and brothers; we witness the horror wrought on the Rohingya and Yemeni peoples and the plight of all displaced people. In our own country, we witness the intolerable discrimination against people because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation. And, we are outraged at decisions that weaken efforts to combat global warming. But it was just this sort of time when Isaiah spoke out. It was a time when God’s people were under attack. Everything seemed to be in chaos and ready to come apart. Sound familiar?? Yet, in the midst of that, Isaiah proclaimed a word of hope: a new descendent coming from David would raise up a new people and there would be a time of hope, a time of life, a time of joy. This new leader would befriend the poor, would bring about profound change, and would show that there is hope for justice in the world.

When this happens, the prophet tells us, extraordinary things will take place. The wolf and the lamb will befriend one another, so too the leopard and the kid, the bear and the cow. Neither animal nor human will harm or destroy on God’s holy mountain. The whole Earth will be filled with the knowledge of God and with it will come this kind of harmony and peace and joy, this befriending.

Dorothy Day also challenges us to befriend the poor and the outcast, making it a little easier for all to the have the basic necessities—food, clothing, a roof over their heads—as God intended. She prays: “Dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend. Love is the solution that will burn out the sins and hatred that sadden us….”

And, I add, it is love that will support us as we reach out and befriend the many.

Let’s turn for a moment to Saint Dominic as we celebrate a shared love of Dominican life, a life that calls us to be prophetic witnesses of the Word. Simon Tugwell, an English Dominican, penned an ode to Dominic. In it he reminds us that Dominic did not found the Order; rather, he friended it. He was the friend of those who joined him in the preaching and he gave those friends an Order to found.

Sean, Jimmy, and Karen are part of the founding and re-founding of our Order. Through the Benincasa community, they carry the tradition and lead us, their sisters, into the future. So, today we befriend one another—lay and vowed—as we respond to the call to be the prophets the world needs now and into the future, ever speaking the word of truth, of peace, of joy, of friendship. May we—Karen, Sean, Jimmy and your Dominican Sisters—proclaim the Word of God as did Isaiah, Dorothy Day, and Dominic.

This is the day our God has made, let us rejoice and be glad!