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.

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 29 Jan. 2023

I Cor1: 26-31 When I saw the theme of this Sunday’s so beautifully entwined readings, I immediately thought of Gladys from San Nicolas, a town near Rosario, in Argentina, and just 10 minutes drive from our own community in Sanchez.  I often passed by her house. In September 1982, Gladys, a humble housewife with little if any religious formation was visited by Our Lady. She had been ill and promised if she were cured, to make three pilgrimages to the national shrine of Our Lady in Lujan, near Buenos Aires. She fulfilled this promise and recovered her health. I often wondered if Mary chose her because she had been faithful to her promise, as well as being a humble person. Mary became her Scripture teacher over a period of a few years, inviting her to read a text and helping her to apply and understand it. Gladys started to pray the rosary with other local women at a small grotto within sight of her home. She carried out the instructions/wishes of Our Lady, first getting her statue restored to its proper place in the parish church- it had lain hidden for years after being damaged- and in second place lobbying for the building of a large basilica overlooking the river Parana. It exists today fully completed and attracts devotees of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas all during the year, but some 300,000 of them, every September on the anniversary of the first appearance.  A centre for religious formation, for help for the needy, for prayerful community has emerged in the shadow of the said basilica. Gladys has remained a self-effacing apostle, true to the Scripture: if anyone wants to boast, let him or her boast about the Lord. Take yourselves for instance, brothers and sisters, at the time when you were called: how many of you were wise in the ordinary sense of the word, how many were influential people, or came from noble families? 1Cor 1:26 God it seems does not need us to be the best in the class or of noble stock, or full of human learning.  “Jesus has become our wisdom and our virtue and our holiness and our freedom!” And indeed, if it were not for the gift of the Spirit, we would not get very far with getting to know him deeply.  This Christmas it struck me how little I have grown in the wisdom of Christ, though year after year I am immersed in the liturgical texts.  So vast a mystery. No, it was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning, and to shame what is strong that he chose what is weak by human reckoning; those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen – those who are nothing at all to show up those who are everything.  Paul writes as one who would have trusted in his learning – years spent in Jerusalem studying as a fervent Pharisee – before he was exposed to the truth about Christ by Christ himself. So he knew from his own experience the contrast between human knowledge and divine wisdom. Finally the way to true happiness is painted by Jesus himself in the beatitudes that feature in the gospel reading.  So not only can we be wise, virtuous, holy and free – we can be deeply happy following this humble path. Sr. Veronica Rafferty OP

Third Sunday of Ordinary Time 22 January 2023

In last Sunday’s Gospel, we heard how Jesus was baptized by John, the Baptist in the River Jordan. On that occasion John declared: “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) When Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been arrested, He realized that his life was also in danger and therefore left Nazareth for Galilee of the Gentiles. There he would carry out the mission entrusted to Him by the Father. Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mathew 4:17). We too are invited to heed His call to repentance and in turn show mercy to others. Later as Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he noticed two brothers, Simon Peter and his brother Andrew who were casting their nets for a catch. Jesus said to them: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) and they left their means of livelihood and immediately followed Jesus. As He walked further on, Jesus saw another set of two brothers, James and his brother, John, sons of Zebedee and they too were asked to follow Jesus. They did not hesitate…”and immediately they left their boat and father and followed him.” The response of both sets of brothers was incredibly spontaneous and generous. Am I ready to respond when I hear the Voice of God? Sometimes I do and other times, I struggle with the invitation from God, but with his grace  I’m led to respond in a positive manner. Are we attentive to his call wherever and whenever we may be? In conclusion the Communion antiphon of the Mass for today sums up what we are called to be and do. ‘I am the light of the world, says the Lord; Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, But will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Jacinta Teixeira OP

Second Sunday of the Year 15th January 2023

  We Do Not Have To go Through this Life Alone The above painting by Bruegel is a perfect example of the inclusiveness of John the Baptist’s message in today’s Gospel. It represents a large group of people from all nations listening to a sermon by John the Baptist, as he points his right hand towards a figure in blue, who must be Jesus. Sitting at the bottom of the tree on the left is a pilgrim from the Camino de Compostela, denoted by the shells on his hat. There is a lot of detail that is worth exploring here – especially in the background that is difficult to see in this picture. If you enlarge it (see link below) you will observe lots of people rushing down to the water’s edge to be baptised and they look like they are in a hurry! We are living in a world that is becoming increasingly complex and that must be challenging our faith. As we enter 2023, we are still on a global crisis continuum that is proving to be very unsettling. Covid-19 is still with us, the war in Ukraine is becoming more protracted, and we are experiencing (in real time) a major climate crisis. While humankind is very resilient and has weathered many difficulties throughout the centuries – the question is, who can we really turn to in this hour of need? It has to be Jesus. The first reading from Isaiah foretells Jesus as the one who will be “a light to the nations” whose “salvation may reach to the ends of the earth”. What’s not to believe? Let’s trace the build up to this: John the Baptist, born of Elizabeth and Zachariah, is the last prophet of the New Testament, the forerunner for Christ, and has been preparing the community for this meeting for some time. Historically he is identified by the Roman Jewish historian Flavius Josephus who also writes about Jesus. It is worth noting that Jesus was also one of John the Baptist’s disciples to be pointed out and proclaimed to the community as the one who comes from God and speaks on his behalf. This is “a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me, I myself did not know him; but I came baptising with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel”. He vocally becomes the direct witness to the light of Jesus. What we have here is a testimony of recognition in the first person.  John the Baptist’s message is all about reconciliation – an opportunity to right relationships with each other and ultimately with God. Through this, we are led to action through the prism of Justice. It is a calling us to unite and challenge the injustices, not only societal structural violence, but also speaking out in our own communities about reconciliation and unity. Let us look outside of ourselves and see the detail, especially now in this current slow-moving sludge of an economic turndown, where everyone is suffering on all sorts of levels, and many do this in silence. I was very moved to hear a story on the radio this week about a young mother who, on leaving a food bank, opened a tin of baked beans on her way home and started to eat with her hands. She had deprived herself so her children could have food. Let us seek out the hidden ones in our own society to share what we have. By doing that we bring the message of true faith and companionship. Listen to the Spirit who continually nudges us to respond to the signs of the times with compassion, charity and love. We do not have to go through this life alone. Susie O’Rawe OP