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The Dominican Order (the Order of Preachers) was founded to preach the Word of God and to combat falsehood and heresies. Ours is a time when it is important to listen and only listen to sound doctrine. Come and read reflections from Dominicans. On the right bar, click on the day you want to view to see the available reflections for that day.

 

 


Reflections

 

A LESSON IN HUMILITY (2 Kings 5:1-15AB: Monday of the 3rd week of Lent)       Written by Augustine Agwulonu

A LESSON IN HUMILITY (2 Kings 5:1-15AB: Monday of the 3rd week of Lent)

only the humble can recognize God and experience his marvelous deeds and acts of loving mercy. This was exemplified in the life of Naaman, the Syrian soldier. Now, Naaman attempted to turn his need for healing into a negotiation. It was as though he wanted something like a swap! Naaman expected to experience the healing by the God of Israel in a trade by batter form, or according to the principle of cash and carry!

Given his inability to hearken to the word of the Prophet, Elisha, promptly, Naaman was tutored on the need for humility by his servant. He was taught that his case was beyond comparing the rivers of Syria with those in Israel. It was not about the incomparable beauty and quality of the respective rivers in both countries. But rather, it was about the healing power of Yahweh, the God of Israel. It was about the miraculous power of God, which was active and at work in the river Jordan. It was about God speaking through his Prophet, Elisha. Naaman should either obey the word of the Israelite Prophet, go bath seven times in the river Jordan and be cleansed, or he would remain a leper out of his sheer arrogant pride.

God is supreme. We cannot dictate for him how he should save us. His ways are not our ways. His Prophets in Israel spoke for him. Naaman may have been a great soldier, but he was no prophet, like Elisha. He was a master in military strategy, but he was a neophyte in spiritual craft. He could give orders in Syria, but Elisha gave the healing prescriptions in the land of Israel. If Naaman went to the land of the chosen people to be cured of his leprosy, then he must obey the word of the Prophet Elisha. "Strange is stranger in strange land." Naaman must not command Syrian soldiers and expect also to control God's Prophet. There are human kings, but there are spiritual kings also.

Praying the rosary, going to confessions, receiving the Holy Communion and many other Roman Catholic pious practices may not be as fiery as other forms of prayers, but they have constantly worked effectively for us, Catholics. According to our Christian faith, we cannot save ourselves. God alone can save us, and in his own terms!

WEDNESDAY (1st week of Lent: Lk 11:29-32; Jonah 3:1-10): THE GENERATION THAT SEEKS A SIGN       Written by Augustine Agwulonu

WEDNESDAY (1st week of Lent: Lk 11:29-32; Jonah 3:1-10): THE GENERATION THAT SEEKS A SIGN

The Lord indicts "this generation." He calls it evil because it seeks a sign. But why does it seek a sign? And why would none be given to it? The reason is because, just like the devil tempted Jesus in the desert, seeking a sign: "if you are God's Son, then turn these stones into bread (Lk 4:3)." And just as Jesus did not give the devil the sign it sought, because it was ill motivated, so Jesus would not give "this generation" any signs. However, according to The Lord, the only sign "this generation" will receive is that of Jonah.

And who is Jonah? Then why would "this generation" be given, not just the sign of Jonah but only it? Jonah is an Old Testament prophet who preached repentance to the people of Niniveh. The reason is because, unlike the devil, Jesus desires "this generation" to repent and escape destruction. Jesus wishes to show this generation mercy and save it. Upon hearing Jonah preach, the people of Niniveh sat in ashes and did penance for their sins. The Lord had pity on them and saved their city from destruction. The people of Niniveh never asked Jonah for any signs. They simply recognized the truth he preached and repented. But why? The reason is because the people of Niniveh were not presumptuous. They did not claim to be self-righteous. They were honest to themselves. They realized their sinfulness and accepted the help offered it without hesitation. This is how The Lord encourages this generation to act. If the people of Niniveh could act based on the strength of Jonah's proclamation, then how much quicker should "this generation" act, for someone greater than Jonah is here?

But it seems fashionable today for people to pursue illusion instead of accepting the truth. Our generation prefers colored illusion to the plain truth. The reason is because this generation feels enlightened. It believes it has acquired knowledge about life, and it has mastered the world. Any generation that seeks a sign from Jesus is a faithless one. It is irredeemable. If it will not learn from the people of Niniveh, then it is doomed.

The method of religion is different from that of science and technology. So, if our generation wishes to practice religion like science and technology, then it would miss the purpose and goal of religion. Presumption and the search for a scientific practice of religion run contrary to the values of religion. Religion is larger than science. The reason is because of the object of religion who is God. There is no man made telescope that can capture the greatness of God, as a microscope captures bacteria. It is only faith that can help us to know God so that we do not depend on a sign to accept his Son, Jesus Christ The Lord.

So, The Lord is inviting us today to believe his message, to trust him and to obey his directives and instructions. Then it shall be well with us.

Monday of the first week of lent - MT 25:31-46: THE VALUE OF CARING FOR THE POOR       Written by Augustine Agwulonu

Monday of the first week of lent - MT 25:31-46: THE VALUE OF CARING FOR THE POOR

"Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."

God's chosen people, Israel, took care of the poor as part of their religious observance in Judaism. One such form of care is expressed by almsgiving. We see a clear evidence that this was so from Jesus's teaching that almsgiving should be done in secret (see Mt 6:2f).

According to today's Gospel reading it can be said that Matthew deepened and developed the teaching on the religious practice of almsgiving in Judaism. Firstly, he expanded it to include everything given to those in need of them: food, drink, shelter, cloth, visiting the sick and those in prison, etc. Secondly, Matthew assigned a Christian face to the practice of helping those in need by teaching that Christ identified with those who were assisted to be his very self. Christ showed himself as needy in the poor, the homeless, the less privileged, the sick, and those in prison. In this way Matthew defined his christology of the Christian charitable and corporal acts of mercy.

With this same Gospel passage, Matthew expressed his eschatological teaching about Christian charity and cares for the poor. These acts were done, not just to satisfy the immediate needs of the poor people, but they also had their eschatological effect. They were ways of expressing the hope of being accepted by Christ in his kingdom on the last day. They defined the path of service to Jesus. They took providence to its logical and final conclusion, as they prepared one to inherit the kingdom, which God prepared from the foundation of the world. They were ways to a final union of friendship with Jesus. And finally, they were the path to eschatological divine surprises.

Would any believer wish to ignore such beckoning light of hope, love and union of friendship in God's Kingdom on the last day? No! With this demonstration, Matthew encourages us this Lenten season to take our observance of almsgiving and other acts of charity very seriously. The reason is because, by doing that, we not only identify with Christ who is in the poor, but we also prepare to enjoy God's Kingdom in its fullness on the last day.

But for now also, believing and expecting the benefits of almsgiving and charitable acts to the needy fill us with the joy of anticipation for salvation and peace in God's eternal Kingdom. This will be a source of energy and inspiration to engage ourselves even more for humanity and for the world. 

 

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