September 23, 2018: Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Associate Pastor’s Corner
The last verse of today’s Responsorial Psalm is a beautiful statement of faith:
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
I will praise your name, O LORD,
for its goodness.
As I reflect back on my life, these words resonate with me—God has been my helper, the Lord has sustained my life and brought me to where I am today, which is certainly is not where I thought I would be according to the wisdom of the world. I was born in San Diego and grew up in Los Angeles, the oldest of six children of two very loving Catholic parents, and God certainly helped and sustained my life through them. As a child, I loved math and science and hoped to be an engineer when I grew up. And so when I went to college (the California Institute of Technology), I majored in Applied & Computational Mathematics and Economics. But during college, I started to take my Catholic faith seriously: I began to pray the rosary and go to daily mass and regular confession. It was at this point that I began to feel that God might be calling me to some kind of service to the Church. My first job after college was in Dayton, Ohio, where I worked for two years as a scientific researcher for a small defense contractor. Although I enjoyed my work greatly, I continued to feel that God was calling me to dedicate my life to more direct service to Him.
I began looking around at various religious communities, but after some online research I found that the features of religious life I was seeking were to be found in the Order of Preachers: Prayer, Common Life, Study and Preaching, the four pillars of Dominican Life. And so I applied to the Western Dominican Province and entered the novitiate in the summer of 2009, and I have been very happy ever since. As many of you know, I was assigned to St. Dominic’s in Benicia, CA, for my residency year a few years ago, and was happy to return to serve there as a deacon and then here at St. Dominic’s SF as a priest after my ordination on June 22nd 2018.
One of God’s greatest gifts to us is our freedom: we really do have the ability to know and choose what is good. And so when we offer to God our sacrifice of praise, we are the most free, because we are knowing and loving the greatest Good. I have experienced this great freedom and the joy it brings. So I encourage you: freely offer to God in your life the sacrifice of praising the name of the Lord for its goodness.
-Fr. Christopher Wetzel, O.P.