We recently celebrated some significant feasts in the liturgical cycle of the Church: The Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi. In a way the readings of this Sunday see a return to Ordinary Sunday celebrations. You may well ask the question: ‘what is ordinary in these times’? Many new phrases have become the norm in our vocabulary (lock down, social distancing, coughing etiquette). And in the commercial world we are being re-trained into the ‘new-norm’, of for example, queuing, something new to many of us in the Western world.
In today’s gospel the word fear is mentioned three times, and this surely resonates with the anxieties we have lived through during this pandemic. The invitation from Matthew is: to contemplate what has been whisperedto us during lock-down, to ponder and give thanks for what we appreciate now after cocooning for the past months, to imagine what the ‘new-norm’ might be and to consider what we want to proclaim, acknowledge and give thanks for as we emerge from our cocooning. What do we appreciate now about our caring God?
Matthew reassures us – the hairs of our heads are counted (and they are much longer now for sure!!) The little sparrows surely help us, as we contemplate them in our gardens. Signs that the ordinary or rather extraordinary/ miraculous cycle of life continues. And that life matters to God. All lives matter to God, black, white, green, in fact the whole community of life matters to God. And therefore let us make sure the community of life matters to us in our ordinary daily reflections and actions.
This weekend marks the longest day in the Northern hemisphere and shortest day in the Southern hemisphere. Imagine the Arctic will be in daylight all day and the Antarctic in darkness. The journey of the earth around the sun and the celebration of summer/ winter solstices (ritualised by our ancestors) are a sign of reassurance and an invitation to embrace the rhythm of life, death and rebirth.
It is interesting to note that on June 24th Christians celebrate the feast day of St. John the Baptist, ‘He must increase but I must decrease’ (Jn 3:30).
This year the 20th June (summer solstice) has an additional significance. It is particularly significant because on the 20th June 1870 the Dominican Sisters arrived in Wicklow town to begin the ministry of educating the young people.
We give thanks for their contemplation and imagination, which impelled them to leave the comforts of the familiar and to come to this place to serve and promote the Gospel values as Matthew invites us to do today.
“Celebrating the past – Inspiring the future”
Ad multos annos!
(The celebratory motto created by the Dominican Campus committee)
Sr. Colette Kane OP