Feast of Blessed Dominic Barberi, CP
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
Today we celebrate the feast of Passionist Blessed Dominic Barberi. Orphaned as a small child, Dominic was raised by a maternal uncle and aunt and learned to tend sheep. As a young man, Dominic experienced his true calling: join the Passionist Congregation and someday set up a Passionist Mission in England.
In today’s First Reading, all are encouraged to live with the fullness and hope of a God who will one day welcome us into His eternal Kingdom of Glory. "In receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe."
Dominic Barberi truly felt the word of God at work in his heart. After years of ministries in Italy and then Belgium, Blessed Dominic was finally able to fulfill his vocation; in 1842 he was sent to establish the first Passionist residence in England. During his time in England, Dominic Barberi preached missions and received many converts to Catholicism including Anglican John Henry Newman. Dominic lived his life as a son of the Gospel, proclaiming the word of God to all.
Blessed Dominic was a true believer. He lived his life as God’s will; when people saw and heard him preach, it was evident he spoke from a spirituality deep within. Unlike the Pharisees in today’s Gospel: Jesus scorns them, calling them hypocrites, admonishing them for their two-faced ways. He likens them to "white-washed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth."
Aren’t we all a little hypocritical in some aspect of our lives? What about people as a society? What is it then, when we smile good-natured toward others, but the minute they turn around we gossip about them behind their back? Where is our tolerance, faith in others and faith in God when we see someone in need of our help, and although we do the righteous thing and choose to help them, we do nothing but complain about the whole experience afterward?
How do we make it right? How can we, as spiritual and moral followers of Christ, learn to live our lives less in the ways that are easy and more as the will of God? It does not have to be in the form of a call to religious life as Dominic Barberi received. Rather, making a decision based on what is right and not what is easy and acting upon that decision.
Claire Smith ([email protected]) is on staff at the Holy Cross Province Development Office in Chicago, Illinois.