Monthly Archives: April 2015

Pastor’s Corner

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace to you and peace. Happy Easter! “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” How many times have we prayed these words? We say them at every Mass. How many times have we really meant them? Our prayer does not offer a spirituality of release, a one-way ticket out of trouble, an escape from the real world. It is not “Lord, let me leave this earth, and go to your kingdom in heaven.” It is not we who go; it is the kingdom that comes. The kingdom comes into this real world and transforms it.

As we continue our celebration of Easter, we celebrate the Resurrection not simply as a promise of future life, but as Jesus’ absolute and abiding claim on this world here and now. On that note, Anglican bishop and New Testament scholar, N.T. Wright, wrote in his book (which I highly recommend) The Resurrection of the Son of God, “No wonder that as a matter of historical fact, the Herods, the Caesars, the Sadducees of this world, ancient and modern, were and are eager to rule out all possibility of actual resurrection. They make a counter-claim on the real world. It is the real world that tyrants and bullies try to rule by force, only to discover that in order to do so they have to quash all rumors of resurrection, rumors that would imply that their greatest weapons, death and destruction, are not after all omnipotent.”

The Church proclaims: It is the real God who made this real world. Jesus is He who reclaimed it decisively and forever by His Resurrection, not a bizarre miracle, but a beginning of a new creation.

How does this new creation begin? How does this kingdom come? Jesus tells us that He is the way. He invites us to come to Him and put our lives into His hands. We do it by living in relationship with Him, listening to His teaching through the Church, and following His way. That’s how we will come to the life He promises those who have joined Him “on the way.” Jesus makes it clear that He is the path to God and if we follow Him, “the way,” we will have “truth”—for he is God’s revelation to us, and God is Truth, the ultimate reality. We will have “life”—for Jesus draws us from the death of sin to new life.

Our Dominican brother, St. Thomas Aquinas, describes it wonderfully well: Jesus is at once both the way and the goal. In His human nature He is the way, and in His divine nature He is the goal. Therefore, speaking as man, He says: I am the way; and speaking as God, He adds: the truth and the life. Truth and life are what we want, and Jesus is the way. Go

Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!

Fr. Christopher, O.P.

Pastor’s Corner for April 12th

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace to you and peace. When priests, deacons, and altar servers fold their hands during Mass in the traditional manner—fingers and palms pressed together and up at the chest—the right thumb is consciously crossed over the left. This not only accomplishes the shape of a cross for veneration, a great aid to prayer (go ahead and try it during Mass), but the right thumb over the left is taken to show “mercy over justice”. Justice and mercy are, of course, often discussed together. On this Divine Mercy Sunday, we can give some thought and prayer to these two great virtues, especially mercy.

We often think of justice as something “out there”, outside of us, a social condition rather than a personal one. For example, we might think of justice as the state of affairs in which human rights are properly respected and goods fairly distributed. True enough. But “justice” can also describe a quality that belongs to persons. This is a more fundamental notion of justice, since there could be no just society without just persons. What is a just person? A just person is one who has the virtue of justice. Justice in this profound sense is a strength of character, a constant and perpetual habit of giving to others what is due to them.

Justice is one of the great virtues for which we strive. But even greater than justice is mercy. For St. Thomas Aquinas, mercy is the strength of character by which we give others in excess of what is due them. The merciful person gives from his or her abundance over and above what justice requires. In his great Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas says the virtue of mercy is “the compassion in our hearts for another person’s misery, a compassion which drives us to do what we can to help him.” For St. Thomas this virtue has two aspects: “affective” mercy and “effective” mercy.

Affective mercy is an emotion, the pity we feel for the plight of another. In a sense, human mercy is grounded in a “defect” in our nature: the defect of human vulnerability to suffering. We feel pity for those who suffer because we too are subject to such miseries. Affective mercy comes quite naturally, although this affective pity has its human limits. St. Thomas notes, “Those who reckon themselves happy and so powerful that no ill may befall them are not so compassionate”. Moreover, to some extent, the intensity of our affective mercy for the plight of another depends upon how closely we are united to others in friendship. As St. Thomas says, “The person who loves regards his friend as another self, and so he counts his friend’s troubles as his own, and grieves over them as if they were his own.

something that we feel as something that we do. This is mercy as positive action for the good of another, taking steps to relieve the miseries or meet the needs of others. According to St. Thomas, the Latin word “misericordia” literally means “having a miserable heart” —affectively and effectively—for another person’s misery.

St. Thomas argues that the human virtue of mercy necessarily will be both affective and effective. However, to be the authentic virtue of mercy, it must manifest two additional characteristics. First, it must be rooted in “right reason”—that is, in the truth about the sufferings of others, and what is in fact objectively good for the other whom we seek to help. Second, the virtue of mercy is proven in effective action for the good of others. If we merely sympathize with the plight of another and “share their pain” without making the best of the opportunities we have to help them, then the virtue of mercy does not abide in us in any significant measure.

On Divine Mercy Sunday, we celebrate the unfathomable abundance of mercy unceasingly shown us by our loving God, or rather, our God who is Love. God is constantly in action for our good, taking steps always to relieve our miseries and meet our real needs. Called to be holy as Father, Son, and Spirit are holy, we strive by God’s grace to imitate in our relationships with others the immensity of Divine Mercy.

Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!

Fr. Christopher, O.P.

Bike Drive

St. Raymond’s St. Vincent de Paul Society is organizing a Bike Drive the weekend of April 18 and 19. We will be collecting used but usable bicycles of all types and sizes to be fixed up and donated to day laborers in Redwood City and to farm workers in Pescadero. These workers often have no transportation to their job sites. Your used bicycle donations will help family breadwinners keep their jobs.
Bicycles will be collected on Saturday, April 18 and will be readied for delivery on Sunday, April 19. We will gratefully accept all types of bicycles (e.g. street, mountain, racing, bmx and children’s). If you are unavailable to bring your bikes to donate on Saturday, April 18, we will accept your bike on Saturday, April 11 or by special arrangement.
We also need volunteers for the Bike Drive. On April 18 and 19 we will need help greeting donors, receiving donations, and providing receipts, and tracking repairs. We will also need help on April 11 for those unable to make their bike donations on April 18.
On April 19 we will need help readying the bicycles for use. This will involve cleaning bicycles, oiling chains, and fixing flat tires. We need you even if you have no bike repair experience. Several professional repair people will train you and will be on hand to help us. This is a great opportunity to learn bike maintenance while supporting a local, worthy cause.
Please sign-up for bike donations and volunteering at the door leading to the Parish Center after each mass today. Future bulletins will provide additional details and opportunities to sign up. If you have questions, please contact Anita Ochieano (Ochieano@pacbell.net) or Colleen Foraker (colleen@colleenforaker.com).
We hope you will help us to help others by donating bicycles and perhaps volunteering a few hours to help with what will be a fun day of fellowship.

SVDP BIKE DRIVE ANNOUNCEMENT in bulletin