Homily delivered during the Solemn Mass of the Feast of St. Dominic
Sto, Domingo Church, August 8, 2016
(Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 96; Timothy 4:1-8; Mt. 5:13-19)
“For my brothers and sisters of the Order of Preachers”
Kapayapaan at lahat ng kabutihan sa inyong lahat mga kapatid!
Isa sa nananatiling palaisipan sa akin hanggang sa ngayon ay ang sagot sa katanungang, “Ano kaya ang ginagawa ng isang pobreng Capuchinong Fransiskano sa kanyang kapangahasang mangaral sa tinaguriang mga dalubhasa sa pangangaral- ang Order of Preachers? Though we know full well that the custom of having a Franciscan preach during the feast of St. Dominic and a Dominican preach on the feast of St. Francis had since been a centuries-old tradition because of the friendship of our founders, personally this is a moment for me to practice my minority and poverty which often have I forgotten to do.
Because of friendship we often find ourselves in precariously uneasy situations. And so because of the friendship of our founders let me speak to you today as a friend and I hope you will be kind and patient with me just like a friend should be.
Let me tell you though that there is another one who speaks to you as a friend. In the Gospel of John, our Lord says to his disciples, “I no longer call you slaves, but my friends (John 15:15).
Jesus trusting in the friendship of his followers shared them His mission. In another part of the Gospel of John our Lord says, “I am the light of the world (John 8:12)”. Now in the Gospel we heard proclaimed, Jesus says to His disciples, “You are the light of the world”! In another part of scripture we read, “But who can endure his day of coming?… He is like a refiner’s fire and like a fullers lye. (Malachi 3:2)” and now in the Gospel proclaimed, “You are the salt of the earth.”!
We know very well the meaning of what is to be salt. Salt adds flavor; salt preserves. As to being light it asks of the disciple to guide and enlighten in moments of moral confusion.
But it is also important to see where in scriptures do this images come in. They come after the Beatitudes:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.”
“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”
It could be right then to say that being salt and being light could bring suffering and persecution.
St. Dominic embraced the friendship of Jesus! He is salt and he is light during his time. The Second Reading prophetically speaks of what happened during St. Dominic’s time: “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine…” St. Dominic lived up to what St. Paul exhorts : “I charge you to preach the word, to say with this task whether convenient or inconvenient-correcting, reproving, appealing-constantly teaching and never losing patience.”
St. Dominic was not only light but he was a burning torch which set the world aflame! An author says, ” His compassion for the spiritual needs of the people fired him with the consuming desire to preach.” His preaching was made efficacious by his life of prayer, penance and asceticism.
Before his life ended, perhaps perceiving that his earthly life is about to come to an end, he requested to be brought back to “Dominican” soil that he may rest home with his brothers. Personally, I thought he wanted to do so because underneath as he sleeps he would hear the footsteps of his brothers as they go throughout the world to preach the good news. He will continue to be with them!
The verse in the First Reading says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who bring good tidings!” Oh that the feet referred to here by the prophet may not only allude to those of St. Dominic but to all of you as well!
(We are in times again wanting for the zeal of St. Dominic.) Brothers and sisters, our Father Dominic has passed on the torch to you!
Be LIGHT to us!
Be SALT for us!
When all the rest remain dangerously silent amidst the blatant disregard for the sanctity and dignity of human life be the ONE who incessantly barks that peril is at bay!
When calloused, opportunistic, deluded forces seek to rewrite history to cover-up the truth to safeguard their ends (and resurrect that nauseating and abominable image of theirs) let the institutions you minister be the LILY for us teaching what is untinged, uncorrupted and pure!
When we are thrown into the darkness of confusion as the walls dividing right and wrong weakens and collapses, be the guiding STAR for us to lead us to the path of righteousness!!
In the end, here I appeal as a follower of Francis of Assisi, when necessity and urgency dictates have the courage to speak to us the truth of the Gospel even in the most precariously inconvenient situations because by then… you have truly become a FRIEND to us!
I pray for you all another 800 years of blessed preaching!
Happy feast day!