Memorial of Saint Dominic, priest
(Jeremiah 31:1-7; Matthew 15:21-28)
Most effective people set limits on their work. Without limits they may find themselves dispersed and their projects come to nothing. A therapist writes of the limit he imposed on a sibling who was draining him emotionally and financially. He had to focus his attention on their mother with Alzheimer’s, his own family, and his clients. In today’s gospel Jesus tries to set a limit with a pagan woman who asks him to help her daughter.
At first Jesus politely tells the woman that he cannot meet her need. He says that his mission is among the Jewish people. But the woman refuses to accept his reason. Then Jesus attempts brushing off her request with barbed humor. The woman, however, throws the remark back at him. Jesus, whose love for people knows no bounds, finally gives in and grants her needs.
Today the Church remembers St. Dominic Guzman, the founder of the Order of Preachers. Like Jesus, he set limits but was willing to transgress them. Dominic was a man imminently disposed to do the will of his colleagues. That was a self-imposed limit. But there is one recorded incident when he seemingly acted unilaterally although, no doubt, under the Lord’s direction. In August of 2017 the group of men Dominic gathered together was living with him in southern France. Dominic decided to send them out two-by-two to different cities in Europe. Some objected that it was not yet time to begin the apostolate. Dominic only replied that he knew what he was doing. The bold action has resulted in significant accomplishments both for the Church and western civilization.