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Resources for

THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

and throughout the year 2015

Jesus said to her: "Give me to drink"

(John 4:7)

22-Thursday

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS

DAY 5

ANNUNCIATION

You have no bucket and the well is deep (John 4:11)

Genesis 46:1-7

God tells Jacob not to be afraid of going down to Egypt

Psalm 133

How good it is when kindred live together in unity

Acts 2:1-11

The day of Pentecost

John 4:7-15

"You have no bucket and the well is deep"

Commentary

Jesus needed help. After a long walk, fatigue strikes. Exhausted in the heat of noon, he feels hungry and thirsty (Jn 4:6). Furthermore, Jesus is a stranger; it is he who is in a foreign territory and the well belongs to the woman’s people. Jesus is thirsty and, as the Samaritan woman points out, he has no bucket to draw water. He needs water, he needs her help: everybody needs help!

Many Christians believe that they alone have all the answers and they need no help from anyone else. We lose a lot if we maintain this perspective. None of us can reach the depths of the well of the divine and yet faith demands that we delve deeper into the mystery. We cannot do this in isolation. We need the help of our Christian brothers and sisters. Only then can we reach into the depths of the mystery of God.

A common point in our faith, regardless of the church to which we belong, is that God is mystery beyond our comprehension. The search for Christian unity brings us to the recognition that no community has all the means to reach into the deep waters of the divine. We need water, we need help: everybody needs help! The more we grow in unity, share our buckets and join the pieces of our ropes, the deeper we delve into the well of the divine.

Brazilian indigenous traditions teach us to learn from the wisdom of the elderly, and at the same time, from the curiosity and innocence of infants. When we are ready to accept that we do need each other, we become like children, open to learn. And that’s how God’s Kingdom opens for us (Mt 18:3). We must do as Jesus did. We must take the initiative to enter into a foreign land, where we become a stranger, and cultivate the desire to learn from that which is different.

Questions

  1. Do you remember situations in which your church has helped another church or has been helped by another church?

  2. Are there reservations from the part of your church to accept help from another church? How can these reservations be overcome?

Prayer

God, spring of the Living water,

help us to understand that the more we join together the pieces of our ropes,

the more deeply our buckets reach into your divine waters!

Awaken us to the truth that the gifts of the other,

are an expression of your unfathomable mystery.

And make us sit at the well together

to drink from your water

which gathers us in unity and peace.

We ask this in the name of your son Jesus Christ,

who asked the Samaritan woman to give him water for his thirst.

Amen.



 

Resources for

THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

and throughout the year 2015

Jesus said to her: "Give me to drink"

(John 4:7)

21-Wednesday

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS


DAY 4

RENUNCIATION

Then the woman left her water jar (John 4:28)

Genesis 11:31-12:4

God promises to make Abram a great nation and a blessing

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd

Acts 10:9-20

"What God has made clean, you must not call profane"

John 4:25-28

Then the woman left her water jar

Commentary

The encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman shows that dialogue with the different, the stranger, the unfamiliar, can be life-giving. If the woman had followed the rules of her culture, she would have left when she saw Jesus approaching the well. That day, for some reason, she did not follow the established rules. Both she and Jesus broke with conventional patterns of behaviour. Through this breaking forth they showed us again that it is possible to build new relationships.

As Jesus completes the work of the Father, the Samaritan woman, for her part, leaves her water jar, meaning that she could go further in her life; she was not confined to the role society imposed on her. In John’s Gospel she is the first person to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. "Breaking forth" is a necessity for those who desire to grow stronger and wiser in their faith.

That the Samaritan woman leaves behind her water jar signals that she has found a greater gift, a greater good than the water she came for, and a better place to be within her community. She recognizes the greater gift that this Jewish stranger, Jesus, is offering her.

It is difficult for us to find value, to recognize as good, or even holy, that which is unknown to us and that which belongs to another. However, recognizing the gifts that belong to the other as good and as holy is a necessary step towards the visible unity we seek.

Questions

  1. Meeting Jesus demands that we leave behind our water jars, what are those water jars for us?

  2. What are the main difficulties that prevent us from doing so?

Prayer

Loving God,

help us to learn from Jesus and the Samaritan

that the encounter with the other opens for us new horizons of grace.

Help us to break through our limits and embrace new challenges.

Help us to go beyond fear in following the call of your Son.

In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.



 

Resources for

THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

and throughout the year 2015

Jesus said to her: "Give me to drink"

(John 4:7)

20-Tuesday

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS


DAY 3

DENUNCIATION II

"I have no husband" (John 4:17)

2 Kings 17:24-34

Samaria conquered by Assyria

Psalms 139:1-12

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me"

Romans 7:1-4

"You have died to the law through the body of Christ"

John 4:16-19

"I have no husband"

Commentary

The Samaritan woman answers Jesus, "I have no husband." The topic of conversation is now about the married life of the woman. There is a shift in terms of the content of their dialogue – from water to husband. "Go, call your husband and come back" (Jn 4:16), but Jesus knows the woman has had five husbands, and the man she has now is not her husband.

What is this woman’s situation? Did her husbands ask for divorce? Was she a widow? Did she have children? These questions arise naturally when dealing with this narrative. However, it seems that Jesus was interested in another dimension of the woman’s situation, he acknowledges the woman’s life but remains open to her, to encounter her. Jesus does not insist on a moral interpretation of her answer but seems to want to lead her beyond. And as a result the woman’s attitude towards Jesus changes. At this point, the obstacles of cultural and religious differences fade into the background in order to give space to something much more important: an encounter in trust. Jesus’ behaviour in this moment allows us to open new windows and raise further questions: questions that challenge the attitudes that denigrate and marginalize women; and questions about the differences which we allow to stand in the way of the unity we seek and for which we pray.

Questions

  1. What are the sinful structures that we can identify in our own communities?

  2. What is the place and the role of women in our churches?

  3. What can our churches do to prevent violence and to overcome violence directed against women and girls?

Prayer

O you who are beyond all things,

how could we call you by any other name?

What song could be sung for you?

No word can express you.

What Spirit can perceive you?

No intelligence can comprehend you.

You alone are inexpressible;

all that is said has come from you.

You alone are unknowable;

all that is thought has come from you.

All creatures proclaim you, those who speak and those who are dumb.

Every one desires you, everyone sighs and aspires after you.

All that exists prays to you,

and every being that can contemplate your universe raises to you a silent hymn.

Have pity on us, you who are beyond all things.

How could we call you by any other name?

Amen.



 

Resources for

THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

and throughout the year 2015

Jesus said to her: "Give me to drink"

(John 4:7)

19-Monday

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS


DAY 2

DENUNCIATION I

Tired of the journey, Jesus sat down facing the well (John 4:6)

Genesis 29:1-14

Jacob and Rachel at the well

Psalms 137

How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Each one of you says, "I am for Paul," or "I am for Apollos"

John 4:5-6

Jesus was tired out by his journey

Commentary

Jesus had been in Judea before his encounter with the Samaritan woman. The Pharisees had begun to spread the word that Jesus baptized more disciples than John. Perhaps this rumour has caused some tension and discomfort. Perhaps it is the reason behind Jesus’ decision to leave.

Arriving at the well, Jesus decides to stop. He was tired from his journey. His fatigue could also be related to the rumours. While he was resting, a Samaritan woman came near the well to fetch water. This meeting took place at Jacob’s well: a symbolic place in the life and spirituality of the people of the Bible.

A dialogue begins between the Samaritan woman and Jesus about the place of worship. "Is it on this mountain or in Jerusalem?" asks the Samaritan woman. Jesus answers, "neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him" (Jn 4: 21- 24).

It still happens that instead of a common search for unity, competition and dispute mark the relations between the churches. This has been the experience of Brazil in recent years. Communities extol their own virtues and the benefits that accrue to their adherents in order to attract new members. Some think that the bigger the church, the larger its number of members, the greater its power, the closer they are to God, presenting themselves as the only true worshippers. As a result there has been violence and disrespect to other religions and traditions. This type of competitive marketing creates both distrust between the churches and a lack of credibility in society towards Christianity as a whole. As competition grows the "other" community becomes the enemy.

Who are the true worshippers? True worshippers do not allow the logic of competition – who is better and who is worse – to infect faith. We need "wells" to lean upon, to rest and let go of disputes, competition and violence, places where we can learn that true worshippers worship "in Spirit and in Truth."

Questions

  1. What are the main reasons for competition among our churches?

  2. Are we able to identify a common "well" upon which we can lean, and rest from our disputes and competitions ?

Prayer

Gracious God,

Often our churches are led to choose the logic of competition.

Forgive our sin of presumption.

We are weary from this need to be first. Allow us to rest at the well.

Refresh us with the water of unity drawn from our common prayer.

May your Spirit who hovered over the waters of chaos bring unity from our diversity.

Amen.



 

Resources for

THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

and throughout the year 2015

Jesus said to her: "Give me to drink"

(John 4:7)

18-Sunday1st

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS

DAY 1

PROCLAMATION

It is necessary to go through Samaria (John 4:4)

Genesis 24:10-33

Abraham and Rebekah at the well

Psalm 42

The deer that longs for running streams

2 Corinthians 8:1-7

The generosity of the churches of Macedonia

John 4:1-4

He had to go through Samaria

Commentary

Jesus and his disciples travelled from Judea to Galilee. Samaria is between these two areas. There was a certain prejudice against Samaria and the Samaritans. The negative reputation of Samaria came from its mix of races and religions. It was not uncommon to use alternative routes to avoid stepping into Samaritan territory.

What does the Gospel of John mean, then, when saying, "it is necessary to go through Samaria"? More than a geographical issue, it is a choice of Jesus: "going through Samaria" means that it is necessary to meet the other, the different, the one who is often seen as a threat.

The conflict between Jews and Samaritans was old. Samaritan predecessors had broken with the monarchy of the south which required the centralization of the worship in Jerusalem (1 Kings 12). Later, when the Assyrians invaded Samaria deporting many of the local population, they brought to the territory a number of foreign peoples, each with their own gods or deities (2 Kings 17:24-34). For Jews, Samaritans became a people "mixed and impure". Later in John’s Gospel, the Jews, wanting to discredit Jesus, accuse him saying, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?" (Jn 8:48).

Samaritans in their turn, also had difficulty accepting Jews (Jn 4:8). The hurt of the past became even greater when, around 128 BC, the Jewish leader, John Hyrcanus, destroyed the temple built by Samaritans as their place of worship on Mount Gerizin. On at least one occasion, reported in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus was not received in a Samaritan city simply because he was on his way to Judea (Lk 9:52). So resistance to dialogue came from the two sides.

John makes it clear that "going through Samaria" is a choice Jesus is making; he is reaching beyond his own people. In this he is showing us that isolating ourselves from those who are different and relating only to people like ourselves is a self-inflicted impoverishment. It is the dialogue with those who are different that makes us grow.

Questions

  1. What does it mean for me and for my community of faith "to have to go through Samaria?"

  2. What are the steps that my church has made to meet other churches and what have the churches learnt from each other?

Prayer

God of all peoples,

teach us to go through Samaria to meet our brothers and sisters from other churches.

Allow us to go there with an open heart

so we may learn from every church and culture.

We confess that you are the source of unity.

Grant us the unity that Christ wills for us.

Amen.

 
Report of the annual meeting of the International Commission of IDYM - 2015
IDYM

After a year of frequent online meetings, the International Commission of IDYM (Dani, José Alberto, Leonardo, Lyamar, Sean and fr Rui) gathered again at Santa Sabina, Rome. Since our last meeting in Rome, time has passed, some goals have been achieved, others are yet to be achieved but we are fully aware of what lies ahead of us. Largely, it has been a year of learning for us but we have also managed to get some things done while gearing up to do more next year.

One of our main tasks for which the entire Order is also preparing is the programme of activities for the Jubilee of the Order in 2016. For the celebration, we plan to have series of activities together. Our final proposal which we hope will not undergo any further changes is as follows:


International Meeting: This will take place in Toulouse (France) from 14 to 17 July 2016. This is the place where the Order was founded and where it took its first missionary steps. We want to use the Jubilee to return to the basics and build momentum for the future. We invite you all to start preparing for this meeting. It promises to be a defining moment for us.


International Assembly: This will immediately follow the international meeting until 21 July at the same venue.

World Youth Day 2016: This will take place from 26 to 31 July 2016 at Krakow, Poland. We are currently working with those on the ground there to develop a suitable unique programme that will allow us to celebrate this gathering of young Catholics as a Dominican family. We are still working on the programme, it will be disseminated as soon as it is ready.

In the other part of the meeting, we reviewed what we have done in our respective offices and also in our contacts with different groups in different countries.


Mission

Our mission work has been intense and not always easy. After several attempts to prepare an international mission work for the movement without much success, we have managed to prepare a mission experience for next year. This will be in July in Paraguay and it is open to participants from different countries. We will continue to work to strengthen our mission areas in all countries and try to develop more joint mission works at different levels. We will continue to devote the month of October to mission.


Communication

We ask you to help us by sending us your mission experiences and/or national voluntary activities and any other activities you are undertaking. Do make use of any of our communication channels to share with us and other movements in other countries. We have “Whatsapp” groups according to geographical areas and languages. We will further strengthen our team of translators and we invite you to participate.


Formation

In the area of formation, we have come a long way and its slowing bearing fruits. We have already published some formation themes and we will continue to publish more, even more interesting ones. We have almost finished working on the proposed Formation programme. Thanks to DOMUNI for offering its platform and its contents and making them available to individual members and groups of the movement in different places and languages.

Regional Integration

Concerning the question that was raised at the last Assembly at Bogota about development at regional levels, we recall the steps that have been taken in Africa with the meeting held in Nigeria. Now, our desire is to support and strengthen their work. We are preparing for a regional meeting in Latin America for next year and we are also looking forward to Asia and Europe afterwards.


Advisor

We have made some advancement in the development of a guideline for the Advisor of the movement which will comprise; friars, sisters and laity. This was one of the concerns raised at the last Assembly. The roles and function of the consultants still needs to be properly defined considering past experiences. We hope to come up with something before next summer.


Lay Fraternities

We are making moves to have greater collaborations with the lay fraternities for better mutual understanding. It will be helpful for both groups (youth movements and lay fraternities) to meet occasionally by inviting each other to local meetings and activities.


Meetings with the Curia

Firstly, we want to thank our host, fr Bruno Cadoré who grants us the opportunity to meet at the convent of Santa Sabina. This is certainly a great help to our work in the International Commission. Our stay at the convent affords us the opportunity to meet with the friars who are working in the Curia and during many spontaneous conversations, we get a better understanding of the Order and its diversities in different parts of the world. This year, we also had the opportunity to share with fr Bruno and we took that advantage to have a “Thanksgiving” dinner with him since Sean and Lyamar who are from the US are with us. During our meeting with him, we explained our work and some of the difficulties we are encountering. After listening to us, he advised us and shared some practical ideas with us. Once again we thank him for his confidence and support for young people in the Order.

We also had the opportunity to meet with Sr Marie Therese Clement, the International Coordinator of the Dominican Sisters International. It was a fraternal discussion which helped us to understand better the operations of DSI and discover some areas of future collaborations. In our discussion with fr Michael Deeb (the Delegate of the Order to the UN and the General Promoter for Justice and Peace), he explained his duties as delegate and promoter and the various ways the youths of the Order can get involved in the issues of Justice and Peace. We thank Sr Celestina Veloso Freitas (Promoter for Justice and Peace for DSI) for allowing us to use her work space for our meetings. Finally, we thank fr Gustavo Gutiérrez for the time we shared with him. This was a once in a life time opportunity, one you can only get spontaneously in a place like Santa Sabina.

As we conclude this year’s meeting, we ask for your prayers for all youth groups in the Order and for the International Commission so that we may take the appropriate steps to continue to transmit Jesus message of love in our present daily reality.

(15 December 2014)

- See more at: http://op.org/en/content/idym-international-commission-year-working-together

 

1

A kid then, I joined an extemporaneous speaking event in our school. The topic said “The Best Christmas Gift to the World.” For a couple of minutes, I answered “knowledge.” I told the panel how I had been helping our housemaid understand English.

Unfortunately, that was not enough for a medal. The other girl, who answered “chocolates” because they were her favorite, won. “What a proud kid!” they must have thought of me.

Today, I am a volunteer professor in one of the Dominican Sisters Institute’s mission schools, the Holy Rosary College Foundation, founded by Fr. Anthony Leo Hofstee, OP. I am handling three general education subjects. This volunteer work has received mixed responses from my family and friends. My father thought it was too far from home or from anywhere I have ever been to. My classmates from college are encouraging me to get a “real” teaching job. Some friends think that it is a waste of time and effort.
My Dominican Family is of course proud and supportive. Long jeepney rides to my destination may be tough but I still feel joy and eagerness in every meeting with my students.

We all have heard that through giving, we are the ones who are actually receiving. I have given many things in my entire life and I know the satisfaction it can give you but I have never experienced what I am experiencing now in teaching. Each day I see them, I feel that it is I who is learning. Every time a student raises his hand to ask a question or to simply voice his opinions, it is I who is smiling at the back of my head.

3

Whenever they look at me smiling, while I blabber a historical, political, or scientific fact or simply throw them mindboggling philosophical questions, it is my heart and spirit that is overflowing with happiness. In fact, I am sometimes distressed, wondering if I am giving enough to deserve all the life lessons they are teaching me. And every day, I work hard to make sure that they get the best out of me. Hopefully, I also bring out the best in them.

After years of studying in Dominican institutions, reading Philosophy, and continuous exposure to the Dominican ideals through the DOMNET Youth Group, I cannot help but wish that I may go back in time and give that speech contest one more try. I will tell my judges the same answer and I will defend it tall and proud. The best gift is still “knowledge.” I will tell them teaching is more than just a career. It is a person, giving herself to another, mindless of her own limitations and exhaustion.

It is not what is given that is most important, rather it is the act of giving perceived not as a loss but as a fulfilling event in one’s life. Sharing to others a part of you, especially to those who need and want it, is the most beautiful gift that I know of.

Some people think that almsgiving is the best and easiest way to help others. It might be the most convenient for the one giving the alms, but I hope that the world knows that it is not the only way. You are a gift, a gift that only increases in value every time it is given. Be the gift that you are and surprise others and let others surprise you too. Do not be afraid that you will lose yourself or that there is not enough you. Let God be your source and you will never run out of faith, hope, and love to give.

Venus, DOMNET, Philippines 



 

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