On preparing this reflection, it struck me that all the Readings at Mass this morning, (19th Sunday of the Year, Cycle C) including the psalm, could be applied to the person of Dominic and the mission and foundation of the Order.
The first Reading from the Book of Wisdom is about trusting God and joyfully having the courage to do what God asks, enduring the dangers and hardships as well as the blessings that this work of God might entail. Dominic had a tremendous trust in God. He realised the power of the Scriptures, the word/Word of God in transforming lives and the need for preaching the truth regardless of danger and opposition from heretics. He was passionately concerned with the salvation of  all people. Dominic had this tremendous, genuine love for people – he cared deeply for them. We are told that “his heart was full of an extraordinary, almost incredible, yearning for the salvation of everyone”. ( Libellus 34)
We know he was steeped in Sacred Scripture and had the Gospel of Matthew and the letters of St Paul almost off by heart, so well did he know them and preach them. To emphasise this, one of our antiphons at the Office of Readings reads:
“Proclaim the word, convince, rebuke, encourage with patience in teaching; put up with hardship and do the work of an evangelist.”
Among many instances recorded in the life of Dominic, the story is told of St. Dominic and his companions being purposely led astray by a heretic, whom they thought was a Catholic. On enquiring of him the directions to the place where a debate was to be held with the heretics, he led them or more correctly misled them (barefoot as they were) through thorns and brambles so that their feet and ankles were covered with blood after a short time. Dominic bore all of this with unruffled patience, breaking forth joyfully at times into the divine praises and exhorting his companions to do the same. “Be of good cheer, dear brethren”, he would say, “put all your trust in God, for our sins have now been all wiped out in our blood, and the victory will surely be ours.”  The victory was theirs indeed as the heretic seeing Dominic’s marvellous endurance, and the joyful forbearance of the whole company, had a change of heart and confessed his deceit.
As the commentary in today’s Sunday Newsletter states, ‘Saints take risks, They put their hands into the hand of Jesus of Nazareth whom they believe has called them to new missions in the Church. They are open to whatever might unfold, and to its consequences. Like Abraham in the second Reading, Dominic was called to leave his homeland in Spain and follow the Lord step by step so that he was gradually called  to found monasteries in Prouilhe, Rome, Madrid and Bologna and priories in theses same places as well as Paris, – founding a preaching Order which was unique at the time, as up until then only bishops had the authority to preach.
Finally, all the instructions given in today’s Gospel, were practised by Dominic. For example we are instructed to ‘sell our possessions and give alms’. Dominic does exactly this while a student – selling his beloved books (when books were so scarce and expensive) in a time of famine so that he could buy food for the poor. Our 2nd Antiphon over the psalms tomorrow evening reads;

“Moved by compassion and love, Dominic sold his books and possessions and gave the money to the poor.”

It is remarkable how one of our hymns in St. Dominic’s Mass, depicting the attributes of St. Dominic uses phrases from this particular Gospel passage. I refer to the passage:

 “What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the Master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time.”

Dominic certainly was this faithful and wise steward of the Lord’s who responded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit his whole life long and had a profound love for Christ, a deep faith and a sure hope that entrusted the future to the love and great mercy of God.

I pray, through the intercession of St. Dominic, that all of us may be given the grace to grow ever more deeply in love with our Saviour, Jesus Christ, grow in faith, hope and love, and respond generously to the daily promptings of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God and the salvation of all people. Amen