Let me first congratulation all of us women as we celebrate on the 8th of March our International Day. The theme this year is, I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women`s Rights. We have our work cut out for us!
On the 6th March we celebrated Women`s International Day of Prayer. Each year a group of women in a specific country work on a theme and prayer service which is then celebrated worldwide. This year it was prepared by the women of Zimbabwe. They choose the theme Arise, Take up your Mat and Walk. Just as Abram (1stReading) was called `Go from your own country and your kindred and your father`s house to the land that I will show you`. We too are asked to Arise and Walk. To join in solidarity with all particularly with our sisters in Haiti, Africa, and many other places, who walk miles daily in search of food, water, doctor, school, hope… Meanwhile I complain if the bus is late! I think of our own Dominican sisters who did just as Abram did in their youth and did so generously. Now as the years catch up they will Take up their Mats and return to Ireland, a very different Ireland they left so many years ago. May they, and all those returning, with the many people arriving for first time, find a warm welcome here and be encouraged to put their vast experiences, wisdom and learnings at the service of communities and friends.
On this the second Sunday of Lent we read that Jesus takes His three friends up the mountain and there He is transfigured before them. Isn`t it amazing how reflection and a rereading of a very familiar biblical passage can throw up something that never struck one over the many years of reading and listening? The first thing that came to mind this time was `where was Andrew?’. John and his brother James seem inseparable but we never see Andrew with Peter. Siblings!! But it is verse 6 and 7 that really caught my attention. `On hearing the voice, the disciples fell to the ground, full of fear. But Jesus came, touched them and said, “Stand up. Do not be afraid”’. So often in the New Testament we hear `Do not be afraid’. In fact I believe between that phrase and `fear not’ it is in the Bible 365 times. Why then have I not heard and taken it to heart? Why worry because we religious are getting older & fewer? `Fear not’ we are told in the face of new structures, bad press, misunderstandings and old age. We are asked to Stand Up with courage. I was very struck that Matthew tells us that Jesus touched his three friends as they fell to the ground in fear. May we not fall `to the ground, full of fear’. But if we do, as may happen, hopefully we too will have someone to touch us, to encourage us to continue on down the mountain and face whatever comes with the grace of God, on the way to our Transfiguration.
Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you. (Reponse to psalm 32)
Sr. Bridget O’Driscoll OP