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The OP after our names stands for “Order of Preachers,” the formal name of the religious order founded in 1216 by St. Dominic. As Dominicans, we preach with our lives—in both word and deed—guided by a search for truth (“veritas”) and a commitment to contemplate and share the fruits of our contemplation (“contemplate et aliis tradere”).
Our Dominican lives are shaped by the interconnecting movements of study, prayer, communal life, and ministry.
Dominic so firmly believed in the importance of study to the preaching mission that he provided a rule of “dispensation” from other responsibilities in the event they interfered with study. We are women committed to study. Through prayer and contemplation we interiorize our learnings and enter into communion with the Source of all truth. Our communal life orients us to the common good of the whole Earth community. And in ministry, our preaching takes effect.
As women of the Gospel, our preaching is also expressed in word. Read reflections on the Word of God posted by Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates on the Praedicare Blog below.
Jubilee Mass for Holy Rosary Chapter
November 4, 2020
You are the salt of the earth
You are light of the world
These gospel words we just heard have truly been lived out in the lives of our Jubilarians.
They offer much for our reflection today, but as I prepared this homily the only words that filled my mind were
We’ll get through this together
do not be afraid
The pandemic has changed everything.
Just look at our celebration. Here I am behind the plexiglas speaking to a few masked people in Chapel and you are listening to me from your rooms or apartments.
Yes, the pandemic has changed everything but deep down and in our hearts, we know we will get through this together.
And haven’t our Jubilarians made these same words the mantra of their life journey? Just think about some of their challenges and how they met every one. They met every challenge! They got through it together!
Most of our Jubilarians were born in the mid-1920’s and early 30’s, the children of the Great Depression. They grew up when bread was 9 cents a loaf, eggs 14 cents a dozen, and gasoline 12 cents a gallon. The monthly rent for an apartment was $20.00 and many couldn’t afford even that. They remember farm foreclosures, cardboard in your shoes, soup lines and sometimes want around their own kitchen table, but they sang along when the radio played “The Best Things In Life Are Free!” They hoped it was true and got through it together.
Jubilarians remember the attack on Pearl Harbor that sucked the U.S. into World War II. They remember the men and boys leaving home to fight and the women taking their places in the factories of the nation. They remember ration books, Victory gardens, war bonds, USO’s and long lines at the butcher shop hoping there’d be something left when it was your turn. They remember a gold star in a neighbor’s window meant a soldier would never be coming home. They got through it together.
Jubilarians remember the joy of their call to religious life even though it came with tears and goodbyes to home and family. They came by train, bus and car to the doors of the Adrian novitiate where after months of study, discipline and prayer they knelt in the quiet beauty of Holy Rosary Chapel and pronounced their first vows. To this day they cherish the friendships forged there and the laughter that got them through the ups and downs of formation days. They got through it together.
Jubilarians were sent out across the country and beyond. With youthful vigor they staffed crowded classrooms, taught catechism, took the census, served as school administrators and along the way earned advanced degrees in the midst of summer school heat.
These were the days of starched head bands and long white habits that needed scrubbing with felsnapha soap on Friday nights. They rose at dawn to chant the office in Latin and were in bed by 9:00pm when the lights went out. They balanced a medieval life style against the growing needs of the time and got through it together.
When Vatican II threw open the church windows calling for Renewal, Jubilarians responded with courage and faith. They studied the documents, read the contemporary theologians and examined every aspect of vowed life in the light of the times and the needs of God’s people. They expanded their horizons beyond the classroom to embrace the marginalized and underserved all around them. When this required a change in life style and dress they were willing to pay the price. Change was not easy – harder for some- and when sister-friends discovered in the freedom of change that vowed life was no longer their chosen path, Jubilarians grieved their leaving but got through it together.
As the years passed, the nation’s growing division filled the nightly news. Jubilarians remember the protests against the Viet Nam war and the violence that spread across our college campuses. They remember the increasing cries for racial equality that led to “sit ins” in the south and voting rights rally’s across the country. They remember the police brutality on the bridge and Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and they remember exactly where they were when Walter Cronkite told us that President Kennedy was dead. They got through it together.
Midst turmoil and grief, Jubilarians continued their efforts to achieve peaceful school integration and to stem the ride of “white flight” to the suburbs. They remained an oasis of calm in the face of the riots that scarred the nation after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. and when the first plane slammed into the World Trade Center and 9/11 plunged the country into fear and grief, they stood ready to comfort and calm the people of God.
But even as they reached out to others, they struggled with their own anger, pain and disillusionment over the scandal of pedophile priests and the Church’s cover up at the highest levels of leadership. Jubilarians grieved, they prayed and they got through it together.
Today their steps may have slowed and time and illness taken their toll but our Jubilarians continue to raise their voices in defense of women’s rights, racial equality, economic justice and care of the earth. Long before the virus claimed it first victim they had been living into the 21st Century with the same courage and faith that had always marked their life journey.
As we celebrate these women today we cannot help but feel wonder at such steadfast faith. I think, long ago, when they heard the first whisper of God’s call, they also heard the word we find in Isaiah – they not only heard – they believed.
Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you,
I have called you by your name, you are mine.
Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you,
Or through rivers, they will not swallow you up,
Should you walk through fire, you will not be
Scorched, and the flames will not burn you
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel
Because you are honored and I love you, because
You are precious in my eyes,
Do not be afraid for I am with you
One day, down the road, we know not the day or the hour, our Jubilarians will hear those words again “Do not be afraid, I have called you by your name, you are mine” and like all Depression kids who played in the streets after supper, they will remember that it’s time to go Home when the street lights come on and they will not be afraid.
Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 8:1B-7, 11-13
Psalm 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 23-24
Our Context: Raging fires in the U.S. and in migrant camps in Greece and weather on the West Coast; the coronavirus pandemic, which according to Harvard University research is fatally impacting Black and Latino citizens and immigrants in Northern Virginia, Washington DC and other states; the rise of Black deaths at the hands of policemen; the hopeful response of the multi-racial Black Lives Matter marches challenging racial and class domination and mistreatment of Blacks and other oppressed groups (poor whites, Hispanics, Asians) duplicated contextually across the world.
I must recognize every person I meet as my sister and brother created by God. When I sin against my brothers and sisters and wound their consciences, weak as they are, I am sinning against Christ.
I must love my enemies and do good to them and lend expecting nothing back; I will be a child of the Most High. God is merciful and is kind to me even when I am ungrateful. God just asks that I stop judging and condemning. God asks that I be merciful. God asks that I recognize myself and my enemy as children of God. God will continue to help me and all who love our neighbors as ourselves to faithfully embody divine, universal, merciful, and forgiving love to each person without exception.
God, my Father and Mother, by your indwelling presence empower me to love those who see or treat me as enemy. Help me to love them with the forgiving love that you show me. Help me be merciful to those who show me no mercy. Help me to recognize that I have no enemies, but only estranged sisters and brothers who fail to recognize the existential truth that all human beings are sisters and brothers created by your loving will. Help me cease judging and condemning those who judge and condemn me. Help me love and forgive all my sisters and brothers and enable all my sisters and brothers to forgive me.
LET US PRAY: (a paraphrase of Psalm 139)
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works…
Probe me, O God, and know my heart;
try me, and know my thoughts.
See if my way is crooked,
Celebrated on August 9, 2020
Continued Happy Feast Day, Sisters and all who are joining in with us today. We celebrate with all who live the Dominican charism: our Dominican Sisters and Brothers, friars, nuns, apostolic sisters, associates and laity across the world, all our co-workers, partners, family and benefactors. Dominic’s genius lay in bringing together women and men to preach joyfully the Good News of the Gospel within their multiple cultural contexts. Today we are particularly mindful of our own Sisters in the Philippines, in the Dominican Republic – and of our special relationship with our Sisters in Iraq.
On this feast day, I want to remember the lineage of Dominican women who are our foremothers. From the valley of Prouilhe, France where the first Dominican women gathered in 1206; from the women of Holy Cross Convent in Ratisbon/Regensburg, Germany in 1233; from the women of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary, founded on Second Street, New York in 1859 - we became Edmonds and Adrian Dominicans and later Our Lady of Remedies Dominicans. May their lineage live on in us into the future.
It seems likely that Dominic never dreamed of the Order’s resiliency over the centuries. Like Elijah in the first reading today, Dominic learned how to listen for God’s voice, discerning God’s presence in the wind, the earthquake, the fire – and finally - finding God in a quiet whispering sound. Over the years, Dominic learned the lessons of discernment. He learned to recognize the pattern and movement of an inner energy moving within him. He gifts us today with a legacy of trusting our own inner voice and knowing it as the voice of the Holy One.
It is probable that like most of us, Dominic did not immediately know his purpose in life. With his mother, Joan of Aza’s, insistence he studied at Palencia, Spain; he was an avid learner yet early on, he sold his precious books to give the money to the poor who were starving. He became a diocesan priest, a “canon-regular” and lived in a community life of sorts for a few years at the Cathedral of Osma, Spain. He accompanied his bishop, Diego, on a diplomatic marriage mission of the King of Spain to Germany and back, several times. It was during those long journeys that Diego, not Dominic, first had the inspiration of forming an itinerant group of preachers because he saw the need for authentic preaching of the gospel.
Then just as Diego’s idea was taking shape, he died, leaving Dominic on his own. Dominic could not abandon this idea of itinerant preachers as he served as pastor of a rural parish in Fanjeaux, southern France.
Fanjeaux is located in the heartland of Carthar country. The Cathars were a sect of people who believed that all material matter was evil, including the human body. They lived very austerely. Dominic longed to show them a God who loved all of Creation; a God who incarnated God’s Spirit into matter; a God for whom all matter and spirit was sacred. Dominic believed in what we would today call the sacramental and incarnational goodness of creation. He knew that God could reside within the hidden crevices of the natural world and that it was possible to find God in a small whisper - and in the searching hearts and minds of others. He would believe in a God who could walk on waters as he heard in today’s Gospel as well as remove fear from peoples’ lives.
We know that Dominic did not leave much in writing for his sons and daughters: rather he was a preacher. He preached foremost by his life of authentic simplicity and humility. He was a gifted preacher in being able to explain the gospels to others. Dominic’s lifestyle and values are our greatest inheritance. He desired his followers to know the freedom that simplicity and humility offers. His experience of the Holy One, the Divine Whisperer in his life, directed all his life choices. He longed for all people to know the mercy and compassion of God. Today he would no doubt be praying - IS praying - for all the wounded ones of today’s world. He would bring to prayer those suffering from Covid -19 and their loved ones, those who are on the frontlines as health care providers and first responders and all essential workers. He would also be praying for all those who refuse to wear facemasks in the midst of the pandemic. He would be praying a conversion of heart for those who insist their individual “rights” take precedence over the common good. He would be praying for all those whose hearts are hardened and will not listen to the voice of the Divine within themselves – or listen to others.
Dominic would be praying long into the night for the “sinners” of today who are self-righteous and causing horrific harm to innocent ones – as well as for all the healthcare providers and first responders. Dominic would be praying for us – sinners and saints alike. He would be preaching through example and from church and public square alike of the need for humility, repentance, the common good, and the mercy of God for all of us.
May we have the same inner conviction that God is working in and through us, despite setbacks and disappointments. Dominic knew about prolonged disappointments; he experienced years of failure while pastoring in Fanjeaux where after 10 years of preaching there were a mere six Albigensian – Cathar women who converted. These women remained under Dominic’s protection in Prouilhe and became the foundation of the Order over 800 years ago – and remain so today.
May we have similar trust in God’s working in and among us in the world today. May we too come to know the world as both sacramental and incarnational, recognizing God’s presence infused in all of creation.
So while Dominic left no written directions for us he did leave us:
Dominic left us the desire to pursue and lift up the truths embedded within today’s realities some of which are hidden within scientific and technology advancements. He left us the capacity to reveal corruption and suffering; he left us the desire to set people free.
As we do these works – and as we pray in support of those who are able to do this actively – (not unlike the first women of Prouilhe) then we too become the joyful preachers living out the promise of an unfolding future filled with hope.
Father Dominic, pray for us.
June 28, 2020
In the name of all your Sisters and Associates from across the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and the United States, we joyfully wish you, our Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilarians, abundant blessings and creative ways of celebrating in this extraordinary year of 2020! The Gospel today concludes with a promise of “never losing your (Godly) reward.” Well, these exceptional days of a global pandemic might not feel like a reward!! But we do rejoice because not one of you, our dear Jubilarians, have contracted the coronavirus. You have remained safe and healthy these 100 + days of Covid-19. Therefore, there is additional cause to rejoice with each of you.
Today we offer festive prayer and honoring of our Silver Jubilarian, Eneida Santiago who celebrates her Silver Jubilee in Bani, Dominican Republic, and our Golden Jubilarian, Zenaida Nacpil, who continues to celebrate her Jubilee in Bodo, Norway. They both had planned to be here with us today, as did each of you, our dear Diamond Jubilarians. It’s not the same, but we are Indeed anticipating celebrating with you in person in 2021.
In today’s gospel, Jesus promises, “whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Losing one’s life is seldom easy for our egos love to carve out the pathways we think are best for us. Yet God often writes straight with crooked lines. “Finding our lives” coincides with discovering our authentic Self and the fullness of God’s life within us. Finding our lives is not just at the end of our lives; rather it is the promise of the hundredfold right here among us, now.
Given the combined 1,995 years of service our Jubilarians have offered, (without including the years of service of our deceased Jubilarians) that’s a lot of grace that’s been flowing through you to all those you love, serve and are neighbors to. You have given over the years the proverbial, actual “cup of water” to those who thirst: to those who thirst for social, racial and economic justice; to those who thirst for spiritual and physical healing; to those who thirst for solid theological foundations and spiritual depth in life; to those who thirst for quality education and agency in their lives; to those who thirst for mercy - and for Earth’s healing; and most especially for those who thirst for truth. You have been offering the hundredfold, God’s fullness and grace, to others all these years.
Jubilee is a special time of giving thanks and for remembering your first response to your call as a Dominican Sister: a Dominican Sister of Edmonds, a Dominican Sister of Our Lady of Remedies, and a Dominican Sister of Adrian. This response, in trust and faith, has led each of you to giving 25, 50 and 60 years to God in living your call as a Dominican woman within our widened and richly blessed Adrian Dominican Community.
Each of you have blessed – and been blessed by – so many people, cultures and places with your individual and communal “yes” these past 25, 50 and 60 years. You have ministered among many peoples and in many countries. In addition to urban and rural ministries in the United States you have let God work in you among peoples in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Kenya, Norway, and Mexico, among others.
You have poured out your love and artistry among children and adults in schools, literacy centers, and universities helping them to grow not only intellectually but also emotionally and spiritually.
You have poured out your love on parishioners and youth seeking to deepen their faith life.
You have poured out your love among those who are suffering physically, emotionally or psychologically.
You have poured out your love on those who are materially poor, without secure homes, employment and are in search of inner freedom as well.
You have poured out your love among migrants and refugees; among those hungering for God’s justice, welcome, and acceptance.
You have poured out your love in expanding environmental care and deepening a spirituality of creation.
You have poured out your love among your very Sisters, caring for them as a Congregational servant leader and providing administrative support to them.
Let us remember that God is never outdone in generosity and continues to pour out God’s love and presence upon you; whether you are aware of it or not!
Jesus’ reminds us in the Gospel today that whoever welcomes him into their lives, are welcomed by the One who sent him. Therefore we know that God welcomes each of you with open and loving arms – and share the hundredfold with you now and through the year until we can hopefully meet to celebrate together next year.
I want to close with a paraphrase of St. Paul’s prayer to the Philippians:
We give thanks to God every time we think of you: Eneida, Zenaida, Maurine, Pat, Mary, Anita, Maryetta, and June Mary.
We rejoice at the way you have continually promoted the Gospel from the very first day of profession: Mary Ann, Mary Kay, Kathy, Pat, Juliann, Janet, Pat and Betty.
We know that God who began this good work in you will carry it through to completion: Grace, Mary Kay, Helene, Jean Marie, Carleen, Annice and Cathy.
May your love more and more abound in your understanding and experience of God: Joanne, Jamie, Diane, Joann, Ann Rena, Mary Helen and Joan.
May you be found rich in the harvest of justice: Joan, Kathleen, Joanne and Kathleen.
So as we celebrate you today – we remember not only you but all those who have companioned and befriended you along your journey. Whether living or dead, these dear friends still accompany you.
During your Jubilee may you experience God to be as close as your breath. The words from our Adrian Dominican Constitution remind us of the heritage we bear as Dominican women in carrying forth the mission of Jesus to all peoples – and to Earth herself. This we can do joyfully when we are the breath of God.
May your hearts and breath be filled and overflowing with the grace, blessings – and surprises – of living the hundredfold this Jubilee year!
April 12, 2020
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
It was Easter 2023 – three years had passed since the devasting coronavirus ravaged this world leaving behind children with no parents, friends without friends, spouses and significant others, alone on this planet. Such was the case of Tanya, an aunt to Elizabeth, 7 years old, Charlie, 8 years old and Ruby, 10 years old. Their mother had been a nurse at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY, and worked 12-hour shifts with the coronavirus patients when she herself contracted the virus and died. She was a single mom and her sister Tanya had taken in the three children to raise them in the post coronavirus era. Though they were not infected they remained afflicted by the virus. This was their third Easter together and as usual Tanya gathered Elizabeth, Charlie and Ruby on the couch to tell them the Resurrection story. The children so liked hearing it as their mother would read the story from the Bible. But Tanya would make the narrative a real story reading it through the eyes of Mary of Magdala. And so Tanya began…..
It was some 20 years since Mary of Magdala went to the tomb to discover the stone was removed from where her Beloved was laid to rest after a brutal crucifixion. Each year as the spring flowers would begin to nudge their colorful crown heads from the darkened earth, Mary would gather the women in her village to tell them the story of how their God/Jesus was risen from the dead. “I can still see the rough yet sweet touch of a blood-stained sweaty face, leaving its imprint on my heart,” she says. Those distant memories of people, places and life lessons learned in the years I walked, laughed and cried with Jesus and the disciples.
As I arrived at the tomb early in the morning, I said to myself, “Maybe death is not the end. Maybe love goes on and on. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said he would rise on the third day. However, it was just a fleeting thought.” I arrived at the tomb weeping, feeling something deep inside of me was shattered. Longing to hear his voice and experience what once was in my life.
To experience his love again. But the emptiness inside of me matched the emptiness of the tomb. The huge stone was rolled away. Someone took my Beloved’s body. I traveled the hidden and secret passageways of my heart, climbed the rocks and cliffs of my memory. I stood before the dark and empty cave of my own life. That’s when I realized that in looking for my Beloved, my Beloved found me…. Found me in the place I was least likely to look – within myself.
It was the realization of being human, of being alive and being loved. The tomb that once smelled of death and destruction now was a witness to the surprising restoration life, of sweetness, of hope. This was the way the women of the village remembered to remember.
And is this not what we do now? Just like Tanya and the children, who needed to remember what it was like when their mother read them the Easter story.
We today gather to tell the story to one another.
Because we believe. We believe in a God who tells us, “We need to love bigger and care bigger,” as the one of the caretakers said as she took a break between her shifts as the hospital.
We believe in a God who, as Martin Sheen, the actor, once said, “God dwells where we would least likely look, within the depths of our own being, our own shallowness, our own darkness, our own humanity.”
The shadows of terror in this life will break forth into beauty. The awful beauty of so many stories…stories like that of Laura whose mother died on one floor of the hospital and her father died on the floor above her mother within hours of each other. “I want to remember their love story,” she said.
Today, we need to remember our love story with our resurrected God and with one another.
Because we do believe
and we place all our hope each day
that the burial cloths are laid aside
knowing that love does go on and on.
April 11, 2020
Baruch 3:14-15; 38-14:1-2
Dialogues of St. Catherine, Chapter 11
The Fawn by Mary Oliver
My dear Sisters, friends and loved ones, on behalf of the members of the Leadership Council gathered here tonight, I wish you a blessed Easter during this most unusual and transformative time!
The readings from our prayer service tonight remind us to “Awake; be not afraid. The One you seek is not here. Go and tell the other disciples, that Jesus goes before you into Galilee. It is there that you will find him.”
Despite Matthew’s directive, we cannot actually “go” to Galilee these days. Indeed, we cannot go anywhere. Instead, we remain in place as an Easter people. Our going to “Galilee” is one of being confined to our rooms, apartments, houses. We find Jesus in our closest neighbor; the persons bringing meals and mail to our rooms; the technology folks who help us connect via livestream with others. Our going into Galilee is our staying in place, distancing ourselves for the sake of protecting ourselves, and others, and not burdening an already overstretched health care system. Our witnessing to the good news is expressed through our prayer and experience of community; our connection to the wider world comes through the amazing gifts of internet and web streaming. This year we go into Galilee through technology rather than on foot or by car.
Matthew’s Gospel this Easter vigil tells us that Jesus is not here. He is not where we expected: he is no longer in the tomb, nor in our emptied chapels and churches. The Risen One goes before us disguised in many forms and faces. We find him in the Galilees where health care workers, who are severely stressed and endangered, are found. He is among those bringing comfort, care and supplies to those suffering from the Covid-19 virus. He is found among the scientific researchers and those who are coordinating medical and financial relief for those in dire need. He is found in the fields where farmworkers are picking tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce so grocery stores can provide healthy food. He is found among the truck drivers bringing needed food and medical supplies to population centers around the world.
The Risen One is found in the Galilees of our homes, apartments, hospitals, and nursing homes where people are caring for one another. The Risen One is found among the artists, poets and musicians who find ways to soothe our hearts and feed our souls. And, the Risen One is found in the quiet simplicity of our hearts; hearts that long to know and cling to Holy Mystery, to Eternal Truth.
The One whom the two Marys seek at the tomb is not there. The stone in front of the tomb is pushed aside; the tomb is empty. As they leave dismayed and confused, Jesus appears to them. He tells them “Do not be afraid. Tell my brothers and sisters to go to Galilee where they will find me.”
It is in the many Galilees of today’s world, not hiding in a tomb, that we will meet the disgraced one; the one who overcomes death. The Risen One, through the friendship and accompaniment of others, rolls back the boulders that keep us hidden in the tombs of our lives. The stones that once weighed us down and blocked us from inner freedom are removed. The stones that blind us to the sea-change in consciousness needed in order for us to love each other and to heal Earth – these stones are being been rolled away. Covid-19 has helped us to see anew what is important. Becoming a beloved community, a global community united in one mind and heart, as Jesus prayed during his final supper with his friends, is what is important as we go towards the Galilees in our lives.
Today we move as an Easter people into the midst of a pandemic that is causing global suffering, death and grieving. We place our hope in the Risen One, in the deep sea of Eternal Truth. As we heard tonight, Catherine of Siena prays, “You, oh eternal Truth, are a deep Sea, into which the deeper I enter the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek; …the Soul continually hungers after You. Clothe me with You, Oh Eternal Truth.”
As a beloved community we swim and live in the deep sea of God who embraces and sustains us. We head towards Galilee with hope and expectation, showing everyone along the way, by our acts of compassion and mercy, that the Spirit of God indeed lives among us. Indeed, the whole Earth is our Galilee; all of creation is the Body of Christ; this is where we find the Risen One.
Ilia Delio tells us, “Every act done in love gives glory to God: a pause of thanksgiving, a laugh, a gaze at the sun, or just raising a toast to your friends on your Zoom screen. The Good news? He is not here! Christ is everywhere and Love will make us whole." Let us head towards Galilee.
April 10, 2020
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1 – 19:42
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
We have reached the barren hour in the Passion of Christ. The cross – a crucible of suffering and love – is laid bare. Like the three Marys, we stand at its foot, barely able to absorb the horror of its brutality – and seeming finality.
As we enter our fourth week of sheltering in place, our entire world has become a crucible of suffering and love. More than a million people around the globe have contracted the coronavirus, roughly half of those in the United States. The death toll has reached 100,000 worldwide, including many women and men who contracted the virus as they provided loving care to sick patients.
While the numbers are numbing, the anguish is intimate:
A beloved grandfather dying alone in a hospital. A nurse staying away from home to protect her children. An undocumented migrant fearful of seeking needed medical attention. A Latina with diabetes and her African-American friend who suffers from hypertension, among the many people of color disproportionately impacted by the virus – as the pandemic exploits the vulnerabilities wrought by epidemics of racism.
This barren hour will extend for days to come. Bodies are being piled in freezer trucks, too many to lay in a tomb.
Like the three Marys, we stand at the foot of the cross, barely able to absorb the horror of this global crucible of suffering and love.
Like the three Marys, we remain, accompanying in our hearts and prayer the crucified ones and all those who daily risk their lives, providing healthcare, food, sanitation and other essential services to us all.
And like the three Marys, may we rise in the fullness of time to anoint the bodies and tend to the new life that will emerge. A new life where we are able – perhaps as never before – to preach that ancient truth: We are all One body, held in Divine Love.
“We are caught…” Dr. Martin Luther King wrote years ago from a jail in Birmingham: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”
In this epic crucible of suffering and loss, may we each enter into a new depth dimension, feeling ourselves cloaked in the single garment of the whole Earth community – and held in the saving embrace of Love incarnate.
April 9, 2020
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Back in February when we selected which homily we were to prepare, I was so happy as this day is such a special one with rich meaning and beautiful readings. That is still the case, but the greater context is so much more daunting than I ever could have imagined back when the snow was on the ground.
The Passover narrative describes the tenth plague visited upon the Egyptians and from which the community of Israel was spared. In these days of pandemic, there are no doorposts to be marked. But the doorposts of our souls may indicate something from which we would like to be freed. What is the freedom you would like to request from the Divine?
Paul recounts the very familiar story of Jesus and the sharing of Eucharist while at table with his friends. In these days of pandemic, our sharing of Eucharist with one another is so limited. Each day that we are without the Eucharist we value that gift given to us tonight. But our tradition of setting aside a special place for the Eucharist to be reposed is not permitted this evening.
Where in your heart will Jesus repose between now and Easter? What gift do you request from the Divine in order to have a suitable resting place for your God?
During the Passover supper, Jesus became a servant washing the feet of his followers. Think of our Co-workers serving us just as they have done day in and day out for many years. Why does their service seem so different to us now? Why are we so much more appreciative? Why do the simple acts of helping one another by way of a note, a phone call, a virtual hug, seem so huge to us? In these days of pandemic, everyone in every country is touched in some way by the virus, by the seeming inconvenience, by the magnitudes of its impact. Where is the Divine leading you tonight?
On this night of Passover, Eucharist, servanthood, may the Divine be ever-present to us.
April 5, 2020
Matthew 26: 14-27:66
Today marks the beginning of Holy Week, a time of remembering the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus though sacred rituals, readings from Scripture and shared prayer. This year we will journey through Holy Week in a much different way because of the “social distancing“ that is necessary to turn the tide of the spread of the coronavirus in our world. Instead of gathering together as a faith community in a church or chapel on these sacred days, we will spend Holy Week on our designated floors, in our rooms or in our homes. In these places, many of us will able to connect with each other through technology for these liturgical celebrations and prayer. However, we come together, we are and remain a community of faith joined by our shared belief in the Risen Christ.
With the start each year of Holy Week, we turn intently toward Jesus. We are not just remembering an historical event that happened over two thousand years ago. We are celebrating and taking part in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as it happens today to us and for us.
The blessing of this week is that it calls us to look carefully at Jesus. We watch, not just to admire, but also to learn, to penetrate the mind, the thinking, the attitudes and the values of Jesus so that we, in the very different circumstances of our own lives, may walk in his footsteps. In a way the real key to Holy Week is given in today’s Second Reading, which seems to be a hymn, incorporated by Paul in his letter to the Christians at Philippi. It expresses the “mind,” the thinking of Jesus, a “mind” which Paul urges us to have also if we want to identify fully with Jesus as disciples. “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”
Elisabeth Johnson in her commentary on this passage writes, “Paul envisions the life of the community being formed by the mind of Christ – by a spirit of humility and loving service to one another rather than competition and grasping for power and control.” On this Sunday marking Jesus' passion, we are called to reflect on what it means to bear this name above all other names. Does our life together reflect "the same mind that was in Christ Jesus"? Are we looking to the interests of others rather than our own interests? Are humility and servanthood evident among us?
Having the mind of Christ ought to shape not only the internal life of a congregation, but its relationship with its community and the world. By following Jesus in identifying with the lowly and giving ourselves away in humble service to a suffering world, we honor "the name that is above every name."
If we are to be Jesus’ disciples, we are invited us to walk in his way, to share his sufferings, to imitate his attitudes, to “empty” ourselves, to live in service of others – in short, to love others as he loves us. This is not at all a call to a life of pain and misery. Quite the contrary, it is an invitation to a life of deep freedom, peace and happiness. If it were anything else, it would not be worth considering.
Let this week give us divine hope. No hardship, no burden, no cross not even the Coronavirus can conquer us if we remain steadfast in Christ Jesus, letting Him transform all we endure in life by His glorious embrace of His own Cross.
Please enjoy this video from Sister Rebecca Hodge, OP, who recently interviewed Sister Janice Brown, OP, about study — one of the four pillars of Dominican life.
word.op.org - International Dominican Preaching Page
Preach With Your Life - Video series by Adrian Dominican Sisters