Today is a very special day for the Dominican family around the world as they celebrate the feast of their founder and spiritual father, Dominic de Guzman [In Australia today is the Feast of Mary Mackillop and St Dominic is celebrated on the 7th August).

Dominic lived around the time of St Francis of Assisi and legend has it that the two met on at least one occasion and maybe another. The first reading (not from the actual feast but from the ferial day) reminds us that we have to follow the Lord with all our heart, mind and soul. This is what Dominic and the saints did. This is why they are placed before us by the Church as examples of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Dominic had a great love for the Lord to the extent that he shunned all the trappings of the priesthood in order to be able to preach the Gospel with a new purity of heart and lifestyle. The Church had become very distant from the lives of the ordinary people and there were many heretics having great success because they lived simple lives rather than demanding that the poor people support the extravagant lifestyles the clergy and especially the hierarchy had become used to living.

Dominic and Francis repudiated such lifestyles and took to the streets as beggars; they lived a simple lifestyle that became a powerful witness as to the truth of the Gospel and its power to redeem. The Church needs to be constantly called back to its original calling. In some places it is too caught up in politics; in others it is identified with the rich and powerful; in still others it is so self-absorbed that it has lost any witness value. The role of the Church is to stand in solidarity with all men and women and since most people are just getting by or poor this is where the Church must be! Yes, the Church is there for the rich too but only as a means for them to attain salvation, not as a means to help keep them in power.

Let us be mindful of the example of the lives of the saints and seek to imitate them in our own. Let us pray that we will stand in solidarity with God’s people in the lives we live for him.

Do I live a life of solidarity with all God’s people or do I deliberately stand apart from them?

Lord Jesus, you left the glory of heaven in order to dwell on earth; let me see in your willingness to identify yourself with the poor an example for me to follow.