Preaching


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.

 


Fifth Day of General Chapter, Preaching by Sister Cheryl Liske, OP

Adrian Dominican Sisters General Chapter 2022, Day 5
Preaching by Sister Cheryl Liske, OP

Friday, July 1, 2022 - St. Junipero Serra
Amos 8:4-6, 9-12
Psalm 119: 2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131
Matthew 9:9-13

Sister Cheryl Liske, OP

Good Moring, I am Cheryl Liske and I usually describe myself as a community organizer – but honestly the community organizer in this place is Xiomara Méndez-Hernández. Think about it, how many of you here were recruited into something this week by Xiomara? See, there you have it, Xiomara is the organizer. Organizers recruit people into things they have no business doing and then introduce a little tension into the job just to make it more interesting.

So just before Chapter started, I got a text or an email or something from Xiomara, asking if I would do that part in the Opening – you know the acknowledgement of the land and the native peoples the part that was personal – the part where my own great, great, grand-parents homesteaded on land stolen via broken treaties from the Odawa tribe. Remember that?

And of course, she had already asked me to do this homily – to which I rather glibly said yes, then ignored the task until the very last minute. Then I opened my missalette and – boom, it hits me – on Sunday I would confess my family’s complicity in the theft of the land from the native peoples and then – on Friday I get the honor of preaching on the feast day of St. Junipero Serra – a person who couldn’t be more controversial in regards to his treatment of the indigenousness people. Really Xiomara? Sara Fairbanks gets Saints Peter and Paul and I get St. Junipero Serra? Talk about tension.

I spent the last six months of my life on a team writing an enactment expressing outrage at the evil of racism and white supremacy which is the very underpinning of colonialism – and I get St. Junipero Serra?

I would rather have had Amos of our first reading as the "holy hero" of the day. Now there’s a guy I can relate to. As he is being thrown out of the kingdom, he turns back, fist raised and proclaims – "Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!"

Ha ha – listen up you colonialists!

Amos is railing against the "extraction society" of the Northern Kingdom who seem to have conveniently forgotten God’s word that protects the widow and the orphan and calls for just relationships with one another and Earth community. The laws of God are ignored and in this "extraction society" the rich get richer and the poor get poorer – by design. Not only is the sabbath violated by endless commerce but the scales are fixed and there are rocks in the measuring containers. Even the waste on the threshing floor is sold to the poor for a profit.

Amos has got some good old outrage going – and why not – he’s got the big guy on this side as his avenging angel. Our first reading goes on:

On that day, says the Lord GOD,
I will make the sun set at midday
and cover the earth with darkness in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning
and all your songs into lamentations.

Ok – now I am feeling better – here is someone that matches my rage with all the "extraction societies" of the world – and he isn’t done yet – there are consequence in the offing:

Then shall they wander from sea to sea
and rove from the north to the east
In search of the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it..

But they shall not find it.

Seekers not finding. Is there anything more tragic than seekers not finding?

What would Jesus do?

Eneida and Carol Gross reminded us in Tuesday’s homily that the 8th Chapter of Matthew has many surprises.

And darn it, just as I was working up to a good outrage with some good consequences, along comes Jesus and one of the many surprises. And here it is right in the beginning of our Gospel reading:

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."

Matthew sounds so innocent, doesn’t he – "sitting at the customs post." Like he’s just sitting there taking in the afternoon sun watching the world go by. Not a chance. Matthew is an important cog in the "extraction society" of Jesus' own day. Matthew is a tax collector and whether he has weighted scales or fraudulent books his job is to assure the rich get richer and the poor keep paying through the nose – until death.

Does Rabbi Jesus call him out? Does Rabbi Jesus express some righteous indignation, like my holy hero Amos might like to do? Like the Pharisees want him to do? Like I would have him do, like maybe many of us might want him to do?

No. Surprise, surprise. Rabbi Jesus, our teacher, addresses Matthew directly and invites Matthew to follow him.

Our Keynote speaker, Valerie Kaur in her book See No Stranger and in her message to us, gave us that compass for revolutionary love that moves through various stages of seeing no stranger in ourselves, in the other, and in our opponents. (She refuses to use the term "enemy" but I’m not there yet.) The stages of development in the "opponent" wedge of the graph begins with rage, moves through listening and reimagining and finally to "tend the wound." Tend the wound.

And what does Jesus say when the Pharisees follow him to Matthew’s house and are over-heard grumbling about the company Jesus is keeping?

Matthew, our Gospel writer, relates that Rabbi Jesus, our master of surprises, tells them, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do." In other words – tend the wound.

Tend the wound.

It turns out there might be something more tragic than "seekers not finding?" it just might be when preachers and holy heroes are so in love with outrage, they forget that the goal is revolutionary love, of inviting everyone into the Word of God which is love.

Tend the wound.

What am I to do with Junipero Serra now? Deny the controversy? I think not. Serra was wounded and caused many wounds that reverberate to this day.

In community organizing and Catholic thought there are three stages to tending to the wound.

  1. Confession – look squarely at the real world, name the evil and the good.
  2. Repent – apologize, face to face – as our Prioress Pat Siemen did with Ojibwa Elder Jody Roy at the beginning of our time together.
  3. Make reparations – this implies a cost. A cost perhaps in loss of venerated statues or elevated status.

From the example of Rabbi Jesus, I think we need to add a fourth step:  Never cease to invite people, all people, to follow Rabbi Jesus; never cease to invite people, all people, into the Word of life; never cease to invite people, all people, into revolutionary love.

Tend the wound.

 

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LINKS

word.op.org - International Dominican Preaching Page

Preach With Your Life - Video series by Adrian Dominican Sisters



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