September 6, 2020: Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Pastor’s Corner
Despite popular perception, there is a paucity of promises proclaimed in the Gospels. Jesus never guarantees his followers riches, health or wealth in any significant way. So when Jesus does promise something, we do well to take note.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus makes a series of promises that are connected with what might be called the “Law of relationship.” Just as there are laws which govern the natural world, there are also spiritual laws which flow from our created human nature. One foundational spiritual law is power of community. This law is rooted in the unique Christian revelation of the Trinity. God is not some distant, isolated force or entity, but is a relationship of persons. God’s very life is a dynamism of love eternally shared between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Since we are made in the image and likeness of God, human nature reflects this Trinitarian reality. Each of us has a God given gravity towards forming relationships. In this way, the delight and joy which is Father, Son and Holy Spirit is discovered in and through our own relationships.
Through our relationships, we form communities which is the basis for the Church. Jesus calls us, as he did his first followers, personally and by name to be connected together. In fact, the communal dimension of our faith is so important that Jesus makes certain promises which apply only to the community. He says: “Amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) Jesus promises to be wherever there is a community of persons gathered in His Name. Through the community of the Church, Jesus continues to act. Regardless of the personal holiness or talent of the gathered individuals, whenever we are joined with the Holy Name of Jesus in our minds and hearts, we have access to the loving, creative power of the Trinity. The same God who created the universe in love, will universally be present to those gathered in that same love.
In these days of pandemic, it has been painful not to be able to gather together as a community for public worship in our beautiful St. Dominic’s Church. Though we have remained opened for private prayer, we feel the loss of communal sacramental gatherings. I have missed seeing you all and presiding at worship together. So, it is with great delight that I announce the opening for public worship at St. Dominic’s with outdoor Masses beginning this Sunday! There is nothing more important than worship, so my fellow Dominicans and I are so excited to be able to gather and celebrate Mass once again in person.
The outdoor space we will use is the parking lot in between the school building and the Church. Obviously, this is not ideal, but this is what the City & County of San Francisco currently allows. We have been working diligently to provide the infrastructure and especially the personnel to be able to have outdoor Mass in a prudent, safe and sacred manner. I have put together a helpful guide and FAQs to guide us in this outdoor phase which you can find in the bulletin, on the website, and on Eventbrite where you can procure tickets needed to attend.
As we gather together in Jesus’ name, I ask for your prayers and your patience as we establish best practices for the joy of worship. Thanks to all who have been such a source of encouragement to me and my fellow friars during these days of quarantine. May these days of pandemic come to end quickly and may we experience the peace of mind and heart that gathering as a community of faith brings. Keep calm. Keep safe. Keep close to Christ!