Today is a great day of celebration. It is a dual celebration of our Holy Father Dominic and the 800th Jubilee Year of the proclamation from Honorius that declared the Order of Preachers official. 

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news.

As a young man, Dominic was more than happy with his life. He did not long for adventure. He chose to follow Christ! It would seem that our reading from Ephesians today was written with Dominic in mind. “Of this I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of God’s power.” We too have received the gift of God’s grace. Theses graces have lead us to where we are today and will continue to lead us as sowers of Hope.

Dominic most likely would have enjoyed the simple life of a canon priest of his time. As we all know, God’s has a way of pushing and pulling us beyond what we want. Of what would make us comfortable.

In choosing to follow Christ, as a religious, a married couple, or through the single life, it is truly a letting go. A moving into the unknown.

In Luke, we heard of those willing to follow Jesus and yet they needed or wanted to take care of some things first. One to bury his father and another to say goodbye to his family. Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” We cannot look over our shoulders. We are constantly being asked to look ahead to the unknown.

Dominic demonstrated for us that to truly follow Christ we need to let go. We need to be willing to do what we may not want to do. Dominic lived in troubling times, as so do we.

In 1203, while traveling with Bishop Diego to arrange a marriage in Denmark, Dominic met the Cathars. These former Christians were alienated from the Church, believing that they were the Pure ones. With the grace of the gifts given him by God, Dominic lived out our passage from Ephesians this morning. “To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light [for all] what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news.

I was recently reading an article by Peter Block entitled The Art of Asking Powerful Questions. So, in our troubling times I offer one of his questions. What gifts do I have to bring to the common good? What gifts do we have to bring to the common good? We truly are in troubling times! I have heard so often that religion and politics should not be mixed and yet in our troubling times they are at the forefront of our troubles. How can I/we preach the inscrutable riches of Christ when there is a threat to so many lives? How do I/we bring light, the flame of truth to all when so many are on the run for their lives?

We lives in times when terroristic threats are a regular occurance. Times when women and children continue to be trafficked for the pleasure and or comfort of others. We live in times where greed and power are the norm for many. We live in a time where the poor have even less than ever before and the rich continue to add to their coffers. We live in a time when we are more fearful than ever of who will be elected as our new president in November. Most scarry of all, we live in a time that could mean the end of the earth as we know it. I don’t mean to be a downer on this day of celebration. Yet in order to preach the inscrutable riches of Christ and to bring the light, the flame of truth to others we must know what we are dealing with. We must understand the realities that we are living in, in order to bring Hope to our world.

As Mary O’Driscoll, OP suggested, “In his faltering steps toward making the seemingly impossible possible, Dominic gathered a band of companions whose eyes were given a new vision…” I ask us to think and pray about what is seemingly impossible in our times. What new vision are we as Dominican Sisters of Hope, associates and friends to bring to this struggling world at this time. What are we being called to do at this moment in time? How are we to continue the tradition of bringing the good news?

We are the Order of Preachers. We are called to bear the light of truth to all. We are women and men of Hope. As a reminder that we have been given boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in Christ Jesus I offer you this blessing written by Jan Richardson. Please cup your hands.

Let these words

lay themselves

like a blessing

upon your head,

your shoulders,   

as if,

like hands,

they could pass on

to you

what you most need

for this day, 

as if they could

anoint you

not merely for

the path ahead 

but for this moment

that opens itself

to you –

opens itself

like another hand

that unfurls itself,

that reaches out

to gather

these words

in the bowl

of its palm.

You may think

this blessing

lives within

these words,

but I tell you

it lives

in the opening

and in the reaching

it lives

in the ache

where this blessing

begins;

it lives

in the hollow

made by the place

where the hands

of this blessing

meet.