Getting in the Way

Homily for the Memorial of St. Dominic

Over the last few days in our readings, we have been hearing about this call to discipleship and how difficult it can sometimes be to follow the Lord. We’ve been challenged by the Lord to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and to follow Him. We know that when we follow Him, it can lead us to a moment of great transformation, changing how we live our lives. That’s a similar theme that we hear in today’s readings.

In our first reading from the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul is reminding the people there that whenever we follow the Lord, whenever we respond to that invitation to discipleship, it is important for us to rely on the Spirit of the Lord, not on our own abilities. If we follow our own abilities, we can risk getting in God’s way. We can start to think that we know what’s best and hinder the work of the Spirit. But when we allow the Spirit to lead, we begin to speak with a wisdom that does not come from us; we become witnesses to Jesus and Him crucified; we become instruments that remind others of the love of God.

Today, the Church celebrates the memorial of Saint Dominic, priest and founder of the Order of Preachers. During the 13th century, many Christians were following false teachings about the faith and about Jesus. Many heresies were being spread within the Church, but one of the most dangerous was the Albigensian heresy which taught that all material things, including the human body, were fundamentally evil. Dominic, a Franciscan priest at the time, was responsible for preaching against that particular heresy. He was responsible for bringing people to a proper understanding of the faith and to bring them back into right belief. He knew that in order to fight against error, the people needed a clear, unafraid proclamation of the fullness of the Truths taught in Scriptures and by the Church.

Imagine for a second what would have happened if St. Dominic had not been open to how the Spirit was working in his life. Had he gotten in the way of the Spirit, the Lord would not have been able to use him to bring others to a proper understanding of the faith and the Church would have suffered greatly.

St. Dominic should be an example for us today. We should ask him to intercede for us that we might always be instruments that speak the truth, that remind others about who Jesus truly is and what He was sent to accomplish for us. That message is especially needed in our time when so many are being led astray by false and empty teachings. This morning may we ask St. Dominic to pray for us, that we might always be those instruments that point to Jesus, that we might not get in the way of the Spirit, that we might have the courage to go out into the world and proclaim Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Image: St. Dominic receiving the Rosary from the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child Jesus. Stained glass in Carlow Cathedral, Ireland. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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