To be a Dominican is to be a preacher.  As preachers, we share the Good News that has been entrusted to us.  Every day, we preach the word of God in hundreds of different ways through our work in the communities and with one another.

We also share the Word of God on our website through the Sacred Space. This is a collection of reflections, written by a Dominican Sister.  These works proclaim the Word of God and impart a message of hope and peace to those who need to take out of their busy daily lives to reflect and consider.

Third Sunday of Easter (18 April 2021)

The two disciples returning from their planned trip to Emmaus were rushing to tell `the eleven and their companions` about their encounter on the road.  They were bursting with the news but before they could open their mouths they were greeted with ` Yes, it’s true, the Lord is risen.  He appeared to Simon`.  No mention of the women who were the first to witness the Resurrection and tell them the news. Finally the two get to tell `what had happened to them and how Jesus made himself known when he broke the bread with them.`  One can only imagine their delight and wonder as they started their story but they hardly got started when again they were interrupted. This time,  `Jesus himself stood in their midst`. Luke talks about the panic of the disciples, who thought they were seeing a ghost.  It must indeed have been very frightening.  They had seen Jesus dying on the cross (those who hadn`t gone away), and now here was this ghost saying “Peace be with you.”  That sounded familiar though.  Jesus quickly goes on trying to reassure them, “Look at my hands and feet … touch me’.  In their ‘joy they didn’t dare to believe and were still astonished’.  Jesus asks for food. He eats, then recalling what had been written about Him, ‘He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures’. The Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead.  Jesus then confirms their mission to proclaim and witness to the fact that ‘repentance and forgiveness in His name’ are available to all. Breaking bread and breaking the Word seem to be integral components of the Risen Christ experience as are in the telling of the story.  He comes as a surprise and is not recognised at first.  Jesus is aware of the variety of emotions that the disciples are experiencing: agitation, confusion, fear, joy, disbelief.  Jesus says touch me, see me, feed me, listen to me.  It is in the ordinary places (and conversations) that Jesus appears to His followers: on the road, in the room, at a meal, on the beach.  After the initial shock, the disciples in recognising Jesus recognise Christ, the Risen One and are now enthused to witness to Him in the face of all kinds of opposition even death.  Today, we are living in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic and we see and meet the Risen Lord in countless peoples and places where we encounter fear, death, grief, compassion, anguish, kindness, solidarity, hope, love…This is our Risen Christ.  Christ is working thorough us, with us and in us, healing, forgiving, and opening our minds and hearts.   `You are witnesses to this` (v.48). To ponder – how am I being witness?                                                                                                 Sr Bridget O’Driscoll O.P.  

Second Sunday of Easter (11th April 2021)

The doors are closed……..during these days of Coved 19 we have got used to closed doors. We have watched shops and business put up the baleful notice ‘CLOSED‘ and we feel sadness in our hearts as we realize that someone’s dream has been dimmed and broken.  In John 20:19 we learn that where the disciples were gathered the doors were closed. The dreams of the disciples had vanished and fear prevailed in their hearts. Then, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.“ This greeting would have been regularly used in Jewish society. As the resurrected Jesus gave this greeting, he showed them his wounded hands and side, letting them know that it was really himself who was present – the one who had been crucified. We become aware of the crucified Jesus and the risen Jesus being the same person. Suffering and Joy are integrated. I think there is a wholeness in this awareness, hence Jesus’ peace greeting has profound significance. This appearance of Jesus must have filled the disciples with peace and strengthened their faith. It prepared them for a significant new thrust in their life’s journey. Jesus now says to them, “As the Father sent me so I am sending you.“ He then breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.“ This particular reception of the Spirit is to inspire them to impart Jesus’ message to the world. This was a new beginning for the disciples, and it brings to mind the biblical description of creation and the beginnings of human beings: God breathed into the nostrils of the Adam that was made of clay and gave him life. Jesus breathed on the disciples on the first day of the week – a time for a new beginning. Thomas was not present when Jesus showed himself to the other disciples. He expressed disbelief in what they told him. The door of Thomas’ heart was closed to the possibility of resurrection: he declared that he would not believe until he saw the marks of the nails in Jesus’ hands and could put his fingers into the holes they had made and put his hands into the wounded side. The following Sunday, another first day, the community is gathered again. Jesus comes through the closed doors. He invites Thomas to put his fingers into the holes left by the nails. One gets a sense here of Jesus really wanting Thomas to take a step forward. He says to him, “Give me your hand, put it in my side.” Jesus is inviting him to revisit the events of the Passion.  A significant part of Jesus’ passion was the opening of his side and the outpouring of the Spirit. At this moment Thomas must have experienced a great outpouring of the Spirit – he utters the remarkable words, “My Lord and my God.” This phrase summarizes for us who Jesus is. “Jesus is Lord” is a phrase that can only be said under the influence of the Spirit, it became a central tenet in the missionary life of the disciples.     In the latter part of today’s gospel Jesus refers to future believers. He says that we are all blessed because we believe without seeing. We are no different to the early Christians. The same ever creative Spirit inspires us to believe in Jesus and to try to follow him. ​​​​​​​ Sr Kathleen Egan O.P.  

Easter Sunday (4 April 2021)

There are so many riches in the Easter readings that we can easily be overwhelmed with impressions and concepts. We doubt how the Creation reading from Genesis 1 could be fitted in with the Easter narratives. Further glancing at the list of readings however leads us to see that all are interconnected and all possibly hinting at differing aspects of the wondrous truth of Resurrection. Pondering on four of them might lead us to see a possible theme beginning from Creation, continuing through Baruch, to the Gospel and ending with a challenge written by Saint Paul. Genesis 1, 1-2, 2 In the first reading we celebrate Creation. Night and day come at the beginning. Light pulls back the great curtain on the vast stage of pre-creation darkness. Sun, moon and stars not being deities in their own right, but part of God’s creation, mark times of festivals and seasons. Earth emerges with all its beauty, mountains, seas, vegetation, beasts and insects. We note the solemn repetitive wording “God saw it was good” and the final climactic “God saw it was very good” with the creation of humankind. God delights in his handiwork. God’s pleasure in contemplating Creation is unmistakable as He blesses the seventh day and renders it holy. Baruch 3, 9-15.32-4, 4 In Baruch, we read how God continues to tend Creation with loving care even after the seventh day. In this passage, Wisdom is manifest, especially in the verses 3, 32-37 where earth and animals obey the omniscient One. Stars joyfully acknowledge God by responding “Here we are!” Indeed we can almost hear their echo resounding through the vault of heaven while the following verse expresses their ongoing pleasure and delight, “They shone with gladness for him who made them”. Mk 16, 1-7 A later verse in Baruch “Afterward she (Wisdom) appeared on earth and lived with humankind” leads us to consider the life of Jesus of Nazareth in the context of Creation. God became incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, a human being in history. His earthly existence consisted in sharing this life of God Creator with others, through his healing touch and his simple but demanding teaching. He yearned to communicate something of the wonder and love of the Universe, created by his Father. “My Father goes on working and so do I” (John 5, 17). This belief was to cost him his life, leading inexorably to his crucifixion. Three days after the crucifixion, contrary to all expectations, God raised Jesus from the dead to a glorious existence beyond apparent earthly extinction. The resurrection of Jesus needs to be seen in the context of the universal resurrection of humankind. This truth had already been dimly perceived by Jewish people in previous centuries and was reiterated by Jesus himself as we read in chapters 6 and 11 of John’s Gospel. Resurrection is for everyone. The resurrection of Jesus was joyfully proclaimed by his faithful women followers, the Apostles and eventually by all Christians. This event marks an evolutionary step in human history, a quantum leap in the understanding of the mystery and meaning of our existence. The Gospel for Easter Sunday this year is from Mark 16, 1-7. The timing of the resurrection, very early in the morning of the first day of the week when the sun had risen, heralds the first day of the new age of recreated humanity. Mary Magdalen and her companions loved the Lord and went to his tomb with spices for his anointing. They were met at the grave by a young man who told them that Christ had risen and had already gone ahead to Galilee where Peter and the other disciples would find him. Astounded by the apparition and amazed at the news that Christ had risen, Mary Magdalen and her companions rushed away from the tomb and refrained from telling the disciples what they had seen and heard. Fear and terror gripped them as this was a revelation totally beyond their comprehension. They were frightened to the core of their being at this glimpse of a reality utterly beyond their understanding. Centuries after the event, we now are tempted to ask would it only be later that their tongues were finally loosed to express something of their experience at the tomb, their extraordinary foretaste of an encounter with horizons beyond their wildest imaginings. Were they themselves so caught up into the mystery of resurrection knowing that this too would be in store for themselves – a glorified existence after death, a truth so astounding that they were utterly lost for words? Later verses of the Gospel give the impression that the women did eventually break their silence and proclaim the good news. Given the enormous significance of the message of Christ, we might easily believe that there was a time lag between the women’s encounter at the tomb and their eventual courage to announce the Risen Christ. Col 3, 1-4 In Colossians 3, 1-4 we return to the truth of universal resurrection, of eternal life in store for every living person on this earth. Though we have all learned that eternal life has been promised each of us through our baptism, it can very easily be forgotten in the humdrum routine of daily living. We need this inspiring exhortation from Saint Paul to remind us of the true aim of our existence. This is not an easy task for anyone. Saint Paul reminds us that it is an ongoing struggle where we strip ourselves of all attitudes, even cherished principles and opinions which would hinder our attaining our ultimate goal, that of living in everlasting glory with Christ the Risen Lord. Sr Mary O’ Byrne OP