IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF SAINT DOMINIC: LEADERSHIP EMBEDDED IN HUMILITY, FAITH, HOLINESS & SERVICE
First Reading: Numbers 11:4-15
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 50(51):3-7,12-13
Gospel: Matthew 14:22-36
The life of St. Dominic, a man of deep faith and unalloyed commitment, shines through the historical lanes as a guiding light of spiritual leadership and illumination. Today’s reading unveils Dominic’s mission, his challenges, and his intense connection to the themes of humility, repentance, and faith.
In the narrative of the First Reading from Numbers (12:1-13), we encounter a conflict between Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Miriam’s rebellion against Moses is driven by pride and a failure to acknowledge the unique role of Moses as a chosen leader. St. Dominic, too, was called to a leadership role—to found the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans. His humility and deep understanding of his mission allowed him to lead with grace and inspire others through his example.
The Responsorial Psalm resounds with an apparent plea for repentance—a turning of the heart towards God’s mercy. St. Dominic’s commitment to preaching the Gospel of repentance was at the core of his mission. He understood that the call to conversion was not just for others but for himself as well. Needless to say, in his tireless efforts to combat heresy and spread the light of truth, Dominic embraced contrition as a constant companion, recognizing his own human imperfections and relying on divine grace to carry out his mission. His life’s journey was marked by a relentless pursuit of personal holiness and a profound desire to bring others into the fold of God’s grace through repentance.
Reflecting on the Gospel Reading, Matthew paints a picture of the disciples’ boat tossed by the waves as they encounter Jesus walking on water. Peter’s attempt to join Jesus is initially successful until he falters in his faith and begins to sink. St. Dominic’s life mirrors Peter’s journey—he embarked on an audacious mission, seeking to navigate the turbulent waves of the world to bring the light of the Gospel. Like Peter, St. Dominic faced difficulties amid life’s storms. Needless to say, there were instances when he faced doubts or difficulties. One notable example is related to the establishment of the Dominican Order and its initial approach to preaching. Saint Dominic initially founded the Order of Preachers with the intention of sending his friars to live and preach among the heretical groups of his time, particularly the Albigensians. These groups held beliefs that were contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. However, as Dominic and his friars engaged in dialogue and encountered these groups, they realized that a more nuanced approach was needed. Some of these heretics were sincerely searching for truth, and Dominic recognized the importance of reaching out to them with empathy and understanding rather than solely with confrontational methods. This realization led Dominic to adjust his approach and incorporate both preaching and intellectual engagement into the mission of the Dominican Order. He emphasized the importance of education and scholarship, encouraging his friars to study and engage in theological debates. This was a significant shift from his original plan of solely preaching to the heretics. His ability to adapt and his deep commitment to understanding and addressing the needs of the people he encountered are part of what made him an influential and revered figure in the history of the Church.
Dear friends in Christ, St. Dominic’s humble leadership, his call to repentance, and his unyielding faith align with the themes of humility, repentance, and faith threaded through the liturgical readings. As the founder of the Order of Preachers, St. Dominic’s legacy endures in the countless lives touched by the Dominican mission—spreading the light of knowledge, truth, and faith to dispel the shadows of ignorance and falsehood. His commitment to humility, his cry for repentance, and his fearless step into the waters of faith are all hallmarks of a life lived in pursuit of holiness and a relentless desire to bring souls closer to God.
In an age where the world is often characterized by uncertainty and spiritual darkness, the example of St. Dominic remains a guiding light. His legacy challenges us to lead with humility, to seek repentance in our lives, and to walk on the waters of faith with relentless trust in God. As we contemplate the life of this remarkable saint, let us also embrace his message—a message of hope, illumination, and an enduring call to shine as lights in a dark world that thirsts for the light.
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© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
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