Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time | Memorial of St. Dominic – August 8, 2020

Before looking at the readings of the day, I’d like to say a word about St. Dominic, whose memorial we commemorate today, and I wish a “Happy Feast Day” to all Dominican brothers, priests, and sisters who celebrate today!

St. Dominic founded the Dominicans as a “mendicant” community, meaning that they strove to live simply, close to the poor, with very few, if any, possessions. Dominic was a contemporary of another mendicant founder, St. Francis of Assisi. It is said that they met each other at least once and that Dominic said to Francis: “You are my companion and must walk with me. For if we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us.”

Those were loving words spoken with a deep understanding of how God works best when we companion each other on our journey and collaborate in the sharing of the Gospel and building up of God’s reign. It is sound advice for those who minister in our churches – both clergy and laity – and for life!

Let’s pray that we will always find ways to embrace this sound guidance for St. Dominic, a theological doctor of our church!

+ + +

The readings today reflect a very similar sentiment. They are reminders to “hold together” in the work of God, even when it is difficult. The reading from the prophet Habbakkuk portrays a desperate prophet – someone who is seeing terrible injustice being perpetrated in Jerusalem (which scholars say is likely where Habbakkuk preached). And he wonders how long God will wait before making things better. We can relate to his concerns. He reminds us that he is standing at the guard post – proverbially waiting for God’s appearance to rescue the people from those who are harming them.

And his persistence in asking God these difficult questions is rewarded. God speaks and says – you may not see it right away, but justice is coming! Write the vision down in big BOLD letters so it can be seen. “Hold together” in that vision. Act with wisdom and care. It won’t be stopped – it will have its time!

What an important message for us in these difficult days of pandemic and deep concern for racial justice. “The vision has its time.” And with God the right time is always now. Let us be inspired to act as God invites us.

The Gospel provides the same message. Jesus offers perspective to his disciples when they aren’t successful in driving out a demon that is possessing a person. He is able to do so because he is full of that vision of God which Habbakkuk talked about. He is, in fact, the very presence of God and the change-agent for God’s Reign! He reminds his disciples and us that the faith we need to bring the vision to reality is miniscule – a tiny mustard seed. With that one seed of faith, we can create a whole new landscape.

Let us “hold together” in the faith of God’s vision inspired Habbakuk, which was fulfilled in the full life of Jesus Christ, which inspired St. Dominic …. and is now in our hands.

How will we write the vision clearly in big BOLD letters in our lives?

God give you peace!

+ + +

As Director of Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I have the opportunity to record video reflections on the readings of the Scriptures proclaimed at daily Mass. I do so as part of larger group of colleagues at the Conference, along with lay and ordained leaders from around the country. I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the readings for the life of faith today and to share them here, along with the written text of the reflections. To view these video reflections for past and upcoming celebrations of the Eucharist, visit the USCCB website.