23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
This Sunday’s readings did not seem at first sight to be easy to write about, all about correcting our neighbour’s faults and sins out of love. What a tough and unpleasant task!
Since our earliest days we have been taught the great commandment, the second half of which is: Love your neighbour as yourself.
Instead of focussing on the individual, perhaps today we could widen the view to its societal dimension. Now there are two challenges that stand out for me- how to love the Church by challenging its misogyny and how to love governments and corporations by challenging them for their greed-driven economies.
The synodal journey in Ireland and Europe as described in Doctrine and Life (July-August edition) by a lady called Julieann Moran indicates that there is much correcting to be done. She is secretary to the Irish synodal process and was a delegate for Ireland with one man, Fr Eamon Fitsgibbon. Nearly all documents presented in Prague at the continental assembly referred to the role assigned to women in the Church, calling for equality, participation in decision-making as well as in the ordained ministries. Yet when she arrived there, she found a male clerical group occupying the top table, all male speakers at the beginning, etc. She complained, called attention to this fact. She pointed out (courageously and no doubt lovingly) the fault in her neighbour! I do admire her courage and ask myself what can I do and our Dominican congregation can do about this fault in our church. One valiant Dominican brother has written an article in which he asks the Order to take on this task, honouring Dominic Guzman’s respectful treatment of women.
On the second challenge, our last general chapter called us to change mindsets round the way our economy is driven by and centred on GROWTH. We chose one way to do this. Study and promote the mindset outlined in Doughnut Economics, where the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor are heard and responded to. It is very in tune with Laudato Si goals. And we are working on it faithfully through our Dominican Virtual Cuppa, and through the Justice Office.
So maybe we do carry out the Lord’s command in these and many other ways. We pray He will give us the courage to do so. Amen.
Veronica Rafferty, OP