October 1, 2017: Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Pastor’s Corner
As we enter into Fall, our recent weekend readings from the Gospel of Matthew present the pastoral parables. Jesus likens the Kingdom of Heaven to a farmer or landowner who is eager to send laborers to sow, cultivate and reap his harvest. Jesus reveals his guiding vision of these agricultural stories in his introduction to them: “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few, so ask the master of the harvest to send forth laborers for the harvest” (Matthew 9:37). As Disciples of Christ, we too are called to see the labor of our lives as connection to his mission to sow the seeds of the Good News in whatever we do.
Since the ways we interact with others have changed and been shaped by social and news media, there is a wonderful opportunity for sowing the seeds of the Gospel using these growing platforms. Here at St. Dominic’s we have directed resources towards our website, which won the 2016 award for “best parish website” in the country (www.stdominics.org). There’s always fresh content, announcements and other goodies that are easy to find and navigate. Also, we record our weekly homilies and other talks given at the parish and have found that it is one of the most trafficked areas of our website (second to searching for Mass Times!). For example, the homily that I gave on forgiveness two weeks ago has been a particularly popular download and has been listened to by folks from around the world. Recently, we’ve been intentional about creating content for our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Saintdominicsanfrancisco). We have a new weekly series called “Ask Fr. Michael” where I give short responses to questions or themes that folks have asked me about. In the wake of our St. Dominic’s month celebration, I’ve recently shared stories about the life of St. Dominic, Dominican Spirituality and some humorous tales of past attempts to preach. Also, our Facebook page updates events that go beyond the parish, including the happenings of Dominican students at St. Albert’s in Oakland.
Our most recent initiative is a weekly podcast. Podcasts are “radio on demand” and have been a growing trend in media consumption. In chatting with some of our young adults, it became clear that podcasts might be an area for opportunity. Accordingly, to the latest data, 112 million people listen to podcasts with almost half that number doing so on a daily basis. By way of comparison, five times as many people listen to podcasts as go to the movies. While I assumed that podcasts were the domain of niche young adults, 2017 is the first time that the largest percentage of people that listen to podcasts are folks between the ages of 25-54. For this reason, three weeks ago, I launched our own “St. Dominic’s Weekly” podcast. While we are still in the experimental stages, the vision for the podcast is to practically talk about how we radiate the Joy of the Gospel here in the heart of the City. The themes are wide ranging and touch on issues in the Church globally and locally. Previous episodes touch on the feast of the Holy Cross and the adventure of our relic here in the Church, the genius of the Gothic painter Caravaggio and his St. Matthew masterpiece, and the role of angels (including St. Michael!) in the life of our faith. This week, I am sitting down with Archbishop Cordileone to talk about his time as Archbishop, his vision for the diocese and next week’s consecration of our diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. You can subscribe to the podcast by searching in the itunes or Google play, or just going to our website. So far, in the last 3 weeks, we have about 200 folks who’ve listened, so I invite you to subscribe and give feedback. Jesus calls us to share in his work of sowing the seeds of Good News. May you be that Good News this week!
Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P., Pastor