Tuesday, August 07, 2007

8 August: St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans)

Mt 15:21-28
At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.
House dogs do a useful service: they clean up the scraps that fall from the table---a lot of sweeping is eliminated if you let your dogie clean the floor. It was common for the Jews of Jesus’ day to refer to gentiles and “dogs,” and the gentiles of the surrounding nations knew this quite well. Jesus seems curiously aloof in this situation while the needy woman begs for his help. (It is curious that this gospel falls today on the feast of St. Dominic, whose followers are called in Latin: Dominicanes which can either be translated as "Dominicans" or "Dogs of the Lord" [Domini-canes])
Where is his usual compassion to the afflicted who approach him in faith? In his role of Messiah of the Jews, his first obligation was to the Jewish people, and not to the whole world: “I am sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” Here, however, we see a broadening of his ministry, in fact, he is already starting to visit the “region of Tyre and Sidon,” and the ministry that will eventually include us gentiles begins with the faith of this Canaanite woman, who ended up with more than table scraps.
St. Dominic (1170-1221) was born in Calahorra in Spain. He worked to uproot the Albigensian heresy, and was a great promoter of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He founded the Order of Preachers (Dominicans).
Collect: Lord, let the holiness and preaching of St. Dominic come to the aid of your Church. May he help us now with his prayers as he once inspired people by his preachings. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

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