We gather today for the transfer of leadership. If you count the transition from the three congregations, it is our sixth transfer. And with transition comes anxiety no matter the situation. Anxiety for the new team members. How will we gel as a team? What will be my role, etc.? And for the congregation: what will change? How will I relate to the team? Anxiety does come with change. But we hear today, “Do not worry about your life…it adds nothing. Rather, seek first the Kingdom of God.” God challenges us to focus on our call. And Paul chides us to stop worrying about our weaknesses, our diminishments, our age, our health, and so on. Rather, we are encouraged to boast about where we are individually and as a congregation at this time, because the graces we are being offered are enough. They are enough! Power is made perfect in weakness. And how shall we capture that power, or create it, or live it? Our Dominican brother Meister Eckhart might give us an image to help. When he speaks of the creative power and love of God, he describes it as a pot of boiling water. The love relationship of the Trinity spills over into creating. They boil over from their intense love relationship.
That is a call to us to boil over with the transforming power of Hope wherever we are as leaders and as members who also lead. To be in relationship wherever we are with our mission partners provides the pot and water we need to boil over Hope by grasping at the graces offered us. We energize the boil through contemplation. Grounded in silence; in the dialogue of silence with God, each other and all in relation with us is how we can spill Hope into our world. Weaving relationships grounded in mutuality impels us to spread Hope. Enhance Hope. Be Hope.
As we transfer leadership, we are involved in a nearly 800-year-old tradition beginning with the election of Jordan of Saxony as successor to St. Dominic. We are connected to the transfer of leadership that occurred among the women founded in 1206. We know nothing of these transitions.
We congratulate our new team: Cass, Pat, Connie, Margaret and Liz. We certainly pledge our support and prayers. But more we pledge to deepen our commitment to mission in whatever form that commitment can be lived out. Like Maya Angelo’ s grandmother who would stretch herself to fill her six foot frame and announce “I am going to step out on the word of God,” let us step out with our sisters from Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell, Maryknoll, and Sparkill to deepen our charism and to live it into the future. Let us step out with our lay partners who enrich us with their sense of mission and teach us how to be Hope. Let us step out from this Center to continue to create a place where the spirit of Hope fosters all who come here. Let us step out and let us boil over.
And so to each of us and all of us gathered here today, we have to demand that we will bury ourselves in contemplative stillness so as to encounter the graces that will be enough for us. Enough for us.
And to each and all of us, we must demand that we be attentive to Earth’s needs and act on her behalf.
And to each of us and all of us, we must continue to develop those relationships that further the mission, to transform the world where we are.
And to each of us and all of us, let us struggle for justice for all our brothers and sisters who need and deserve Hope.
And so, as we symbolically transfer leadership with the washing of the hands, let us pledge our support and fidelity to our new team and to each other. Let this act of service be a reminder of the service we are called to give. Let us beg for the graces we need and let us live with them as sufficient. Let us boil over with the transforming power of Hope. Let us boil over!