We are very privileged to be reflecting about our call to preach as Dominicans and most importantly as baptized Christians.
At the beginning of our Preaching class at Aquinas, we were given an assignment to write a paragraph and share with others about our preaching vocation. I believe, that as a baptized person, I am called to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to others. This is a call from Jesus himself when he says in the scriptures, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).
While reflecting on this call, I have come to realize that my missionary and preaching vocation are intertwined. One of my classmates shared this: “I see myself as one who has known God in Jesus Christ and has been transformed by his love, and who seeks to help others to encounter God in a similar way that they may be converted even as I am being converted. I find that the Dominican motto, ‘To contemplate and to share with others the fruits of contemplation’ constantly explains and enriches this identity for me.”
We are constantly reminded by Fr. Gregory Heille, OP, about how we, as preachers, are growing as good proclaimers of the Word in our communities and how we are proclaiming the scriptures in ways which communicate the Word of God meaningfully to the listeners. We are learning that one of the most important approaches to proclaiming the Word effectively is pausing and phrasing at the natural and logical places. There is a meaning which is conveyed while pausing. For instance, are we aware that these two sentences below (Luke 23:23) have completely two different meanings which can raise some theological concerns?
Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."
Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise."
If the reader uses the comma as the place for pausing, we will discover that the sentence has two different meanings. Hence, as proclaimers of the Word, we have to bear in mind that we are mediators of meaning to the listeners. We can’t go without mentioning other elements like voicing and clarity of diction from the reader. They also carry a lot of meanings.
All in all, as young preachers, we are still struggling in our preparations for preaching especially when it comes to considering this puzzle: ‘’WHAT, SO WHAT, AND NOW WHAT?’’ We are convinced that, as we are being trained as preachers of the Word, we are also being trained to preach with our daily actions.