A reflection from the Dominican Family Day 12th October, 2014

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This was the homily given by Fr Rui Lopes at the Dominican Family Day, September 27th on the feast of St Vincent de PaulSt  vincent de paul

We celebrate today the memory of Saint Vincent of Paul, as we know very well he has two major concerns: the care of the poor and the formation of the priests. May be in a superficial view two things bring in different senses. What the formation of the priests have in common with the care of the poor’s. We can put the question in a more central question for today: what the preaching of the Gospel and the social committed have in common?  This question helps us to reflect on the style of our preaching. Many of our brothers and sisters took the problem of justice and peace as the most important challenge of their preaching. Of course we know that some cases with a too much ideological orientation. But we must reflect on that challenge of the Gospel.

We see many difficult situations and how we answer them? Preach means enlighten with the Gospel all the situations. May not only solve a specific problem but also give a complete answer to this problem. In the Order we speak about the Salamanca’s process. We remember with that Las Casas e Vitória. It first explained the situation of the Indians in the New World and the second propose a very consistent study about human rights. The Dominican way to preach is to offer answers with the light of the Gospel. At the beginning of the Dominican laity, with the Rule of Munio de Zamora, the Order of the Penitence of Saint Dominic asked of his members a commitment to the preaching. Preaching was the one way to serve the Gospel and help the others.

Indeed preaching is an eminent form of charity because charity is not just giving material things but the good thing: the light of the Gospel. That’s why the formation of each one is so important.  In the Gospel we heard today is the continuation with the text we had yesterday. We heard yesterday the confession of Peter according to Luke. Today Jesus talks about his messianism: “the Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men”. We can find here another component of our preaching: give us our lives and ourselves. Preaching isn’t just the communication of intellectual matters, it is the gift of our lives. We preach when we give ourselves, our time our energy to the others. Like Jesus we are invited to give our lives.
Even as we celebrate S. Vincent of Paul let me remind you of three aspects of Saint Dominic’s example about giving life: the first is the capacity to comfort those who were in trouble: the poor, heretics, even friars. Preaching is also this capacity to give peace. The second way of giving life is this divestment of him. When the Chapter took decisions against his point of view he accepted it with humility. To preach is also to renew the capacity of accepting others and the different opinions.

The third sign is the will of Saint Dominic to be buried under the feet of his brothers. All is life was a gift from himself to help the others to grow, to have life, to find the truth and the real life. To preach is also to give life all that means: hope, light, new sense for life according with the Gospel.
And this form of preaching is common for all the Dominican Family.

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