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.

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (24 Oct. 2021)

(Jer 31:7-9; Ps 125; Heb 5:1-6; Mk 10:46-52) The story in today’s gospel speaks of a blind man, Bartimaeus, whom Jesus heals as he leaves Jericho for the last stage of his fateful journey up to Jerusalem. It comes at the end of a long section in Mark which also begins with the story of a blind man, whom Jesus cures at first only partially and then by degrees (8:22-26). This is symbolic of the slow way the disciples respond to the teaching of Jesus – which is what the passages between the two healings are all about: Peter’s confession of faith at Caesarea Philippi in Jesus as Messiah was only a partial faith, as his following rejection of Jesus’s talk of suffering and death clearly shows (8:24-33). Throughout this section of Mark’s Gospel, the disciples fail repeatedly to understand Jesus’s teaching about the necessity of the cross in their lives of service. The action of Bartimaeus in the story of the second healing of the blind calls them to the kind of faith they should really have. Like the Syrophoenician woman and the father of the epileptic boy elsewhere in the gospel, he comes to Jesus bringing nothing but his faith. Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside as Jesus and the crowd left Jericho. This was a strategic place for a beggar to sit: to catch the attention of pilgrims, as they made their way from Jericho up the hillside to Jerusalem for the feasts. But he needed to draw attention to himself; so he shouts out: “Hey, Jesus, son of David, over here, see me; I’m in need of healing!” Even when the crowd, including the disciples, try to stop him, he just shouts all the louder. When Jesus calls him, he “throws off his cloak” and comes to Jesus in total vulnerability. Like the blind man, the disciples, and we, are called to shed our pretensions. Today, on Mission Sunday we could ask ourselves, what “cloak” do we need to throw off, in order to be healed of our blindness and so better participate in Christ’s mission? The first reading also calls on people to “shout out” – this time in thanksgiving for deliverance. Normally we associate shouting with boisterous behaviour; people can be up before the courts for “shouting and roaring,” making a nuisance of themselves in an anti-social way. But, for Jeremiah a polite “thank-you” to God for deliverance is not enough; he demands that the rescue should be shouted about from the rooftops. Maybe, like the blind man, we need to shout and roar about our need for healing and then, like Jeremiah, make a song and dance when it is a time for thanksgiving. The blind man’s story is sobering from another point of view: the poor often have to harangue us to pay attention to their need. Walking in town the other day I was accosted by a young man who wanted me to buy him a cup of coffee; if he hadn’t harangued me I’d probably just have put a small coin in a box. I think, too, we should all become “haranguers” in advocacy – for issues around poverty, but also relating to the environment in the period coming up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26). Trócaire’s website is a good guide to ways we might do this. Céline Mangan

Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (17 Oct. 2021)

Isaiah 53:10-11 Hebrews 4:14-16 Mark 10:35-45 In today’s first reading, Isaiah tells us,” The Lord has been pleased to crush his servant with suffering…and his soul’s anguish over he shall see the light and be content.” Just before the events we listen to in today’s Gospel Jesus told the 12 apostles for the third time that he is about to be tortured, put to death and then enter his Glory. But as before, they fail to understand and immediately begin to think of themselves and how this ‘glory’ bit will advance their future. ‘Master, we want you to do us a favour.’ James and John ask outright this time for a favour; that they be given the highest places when He enters His Glory. The others of course are mad with them, not because they object to such cronyism but because this is exactly what they too wanted for themselves the last time Jesus tried to instruct them about his Paschal Journey into Glory. Jesus’ response is swift, ‘You do not know what you are asking.’ The response of Jesus is that of a leader who knows what is good for both the individuals and for the common good. Would that our leaders act with the same integrity and decisiveness when assigning positions of prestige. Today again, we meet Jesus, the teacher par excellence who doesn’t give up on them. The previous time he took the little child, effectively a nobody, as an example and told them they had to become like this child if they wanted to be great. Once more he uses paradoxical language to teach: ‘Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all’ Again, they fail to get his message even though Jesus reinforces his teaching by living it: ‘For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ The greatest example of his living out this teaching is at the Last Supper when he stoops down to wash and dry their feet saying, ‘If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.’ In response to James and John’s request, Jesus asks: ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ This is the same question Jesus asked the blind man before immediately granting his request. Not so with James and John because what they asked for wasn’t meant for them, ‘It belongs to those to whom it has been allotted.’ We can’t be too critical of James and John: How often do we storm Heaven for favours for family and friends and then feel so disappointed with the silent response – ‘You do not know what you are asking.’ The author of Hebrews, in today’s second reading, helps us be confident when it comes to asking God for help, ‘We shall have mercy from Him and find grace when we are in need of help.’ And the Psalmist offers us a beautiful prayer, one that God will surely hear (and one that will surely help us too): ‘May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.’   PRAYER We thank you Jesus for the opportunity to meet you in today’s gospel. We learn from that encounter about your willingness to serve and suffer; your patience and skill as a teacher and your discernment and decisiveness in granting and refusing requests. The other readings help us to pray with our hearts wide open to accepting your love in whatever form it may come. We ask that through this experience of you we, as individuals, Church and Society, may grow more deeply in love with you. May your love be upon us O Lord as we place all our hope in you. Marie Redmond O.P.  

Twenty-Eight Sunday in Ordinary Time (10 Oct. 2021)

In today’s gospel a man comes to Jesus asking for guidance in how he could “inherit eternal life”. Isn’t that the journey and hope of all of us? Jesus gives the man the advice he gives to all of us – “you know the commandments” and he reiterates for a him the road to Life Everlasting. This client of Jesus answers that he has “kept all these things since his youth”. However, Jesus recognizing the man’s sincerity to be one of His followers, looks at him with love, telling him that he needs to “Sell what he owns and give the money to the poor, – only then will you have treasures in heaven.” Living as followers of Jesus, sharing our gifts and talents with each other and those we encounter on the road to Eternal Life is difficult. Jesus acknowledges it is not easy to enter the Kingdom of God. On our own it is impossible but “for God all things are possible.” Peter, on behalf of the disciples, wonders what more they must do, and Jesus responds, “those who left all for my sake and the sake of the good news will receive a hundredfold, with persecutions, in this age and in the age to come Eternal Life.” Carrying our cross in life is necessary on our journey to our heavenly reward D.V. Can we receive and give each other the blessings given to us each day? Can we accept the challenge of sharing our treasures with those in need rather than storing them for ourselves? The readings this week challenge us to trust totally in God’s loving mercy and care, for God Himself knows the plan He has for each one of us. This giving and receiving of God’s abundance, freely given to all of us, will increase our store and help us be enriched with the wisdom and knowledge of those who journey with us. My prayer for us all is – Lord grant that we may live this life in your service, depart this life in your grace. Amen. Therese Lenehan, O.P.