November 20, 2014

November 20, “Weeping” Luke 19:41-44 St. Roque Gonzalez

“When the city came into full view, Jesus wept over it.”.. . .Lk. 19:41. .”Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag>’

I weep over San Francisco every day. I weep over the attitude of people. Last night a young man, dripping wet was crying. He had gone to one of our agencies and when he told them he was “traveling” and did not want to get off the street, he was turned away. The other night a person commented, “Well the homeless should move to the Midwest–they can not afford to live here.” I weep over the misguided and frankly plain ignorant attitudes.

I weep when people whom I love and respect, who mean so well, are so insulting. I am told a lot on birthdays, and Christmas, when I give them gifts, “You are supposed to be poor, I can not take from you.” I actually have far more than most people because I am willing to share. Two weeks ago a young man gave me a necklace he had made, and was trying to sell on Haight. I accepted it., like I accept all the gifts the guys give me–small trinkets, and sometimes they hand me a dollar, a quarter. Yes, they need the money–but they also need to express their appreciation far more, in the same way we all do. Our humanity is best expressed in our giving, and caring. I wear the necklace with pride, and he cries when he sees me with it on–more than money can buy.

I weep over people shutting their eyes to what is going on around them. From Thanksgiving through Christmas I very seldom have a meal with my housed friends because it is too difficult for me to move from one world to the next. The world of extreme poverty and the world of the “haves”. It is simply plain difficult, and especially when I can not share the pain, and the suffering that I see, can not share the number of suicidal calls I get in the wee hours of the morning.

And so I weep, and yet I rejoice in all that people do, and the love I see given. It is never black and white, always there is grey. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Most of us resist being told we’ve been indoctrinated. After all, we live in the land of the free, and we like to think we’ve arrived freely at the belief that we need to eat animal products and that it’s natural and right to do so.

In fact, we have inherited this belief. We’ve been indoctrinated in the most deeply rooted and potent way possible, as vulnerable infants, yet because our culture denies the existence of indoctrination, the reality of the process is invisible, making it difficult for most of us to realize or admit the truth.” Dr. Will Tuttle

“I Give Away Half My Income”

November 18, 2014

November 17 “I Give Away Over Half My Income” Luke 19:1-10 St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

“Master, I give away half my income to the poor–and if I am caught cheating I pay four times the damages.” Luke 19: 9. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus and his response was to share his wealth. I have been told that I am an idealist, but the reality is if each of us would share half of what we have–there would be no hunger. In San Francisco, if each person would share half their wealth–the physical needs of all would be taken care. of. We are like children asking our political parents to take care of us and to provide for our needs, but the reality is we need to grow up and take care of ourselves and in so doing all are provided for. Maturity is being willing to give, to share, to love others.

James Alison says, “The One who is coming will not preside over us, but will teach us to want peace from within, and to learn habits that make it possible. The One who loves us will come as one we despise and crucify: The definitive puncturing of our god fantasies, and yet the Presence of one who is powerfully determined not to let us remain wedded to our self destruction.” Christ does not want us wedded in our habits of self-destruction, and like our parents, he gives us the choice to grow up and mature into his sons and daughters. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

In our churches, ministers often speak about the tragedy of loving things and using people, when we must instead love people and use things. After the services, people eat meals in which animals have become things to be used, not loved. This action, ritually repeated, propels us into using people just as we use animals—as things.

The War On Christ

November 18, 2014

November 18,2014

The following article I received speaks to me about what I observe and experience in society and I believe it is a message we need to hear:

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

The War on Christ
As we approach the end of the liturgical cycle this Sunday, we re-encounter the apocalyptic Gospel parable of the sheep and the goats. Apocalyptic writing, much like the harbingers of autumn, triggers our impending discomfort as the world transitions to a new reality. In our liturgical cycle, Jesus will be crowned King of the Universe, only after he “has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power.” So that God may be all in all, even the power of death will be destroyed. If we begin to listen to the news cycle around this time, however, we might suspect that Christ’s sovereignty was somehow in jeopardy. This is the time when listeners just start to hear pundits speak about a so-called “War on Christmas” (as if the love of God’s Incarnation would cease if Nativity scenes were not allowed on government property). Some have already taken it upon themselves to capitalize on their heroic role in “Saving Christmas,” while others have claimed that with the encroachment of the Christmas shopping season, the real war is on Thanksgiving. At the risk of contributing one more distraction to the very real wars that are going on in the Middle East, I would like to consider a very real assault that is being waged on America’s least ones. This assault on the poor might aptly be called a “War on Christ.”

The Sunday readings remind us that Christ, our Holy King, desires not sacrifice, but instead to be encountered through corporal works of mercy. Unfortunately, however, the sleek and the powerful have been working to obstruct just such encounters with the poor. Recently, a 90 year old WWII veteran was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, FL for feeding hungry homeless people. After one Ebola patient recently stepped on American soil, hysterical calls to close U.S. airports to West African air travel have threatened to prevent aid workers from responding to an epidemic that has already killed thousands. Last summer, 20,000 households were left thirsty when the city of Detroit, MI shut off its water, raised the rates on that water and began a transition towards private control of city water by a French based company. Even more recently, President Obama’s plan to relieve a few million families from deportations was delayed when a handful of Congressman adopted a Total War posture to block the nomination of a new Attorney General. Solitary confinement, an increasing practice in U.S. prisons, creates a total impossibility of communication and has been called a “torturous” practice by the Pope and psychological experts. If Christ is to be found in the least of our brothers and sisters, then why are frigid places like Anoka, MN declaring war on gay teens? Can we not even find Christ in our own children?

While the Last Judgment might strike fear in the hearts of the unrepentant, its real purpose may better be seen as a piercing arrow aimed at the heart of indifference. The proverbial goats are not a people of perceived evil to be cast out like so many parents of LGBT youth. They are the sleek and strong who are likely waiting Christ out till the end time like a sports fan whose interest is only peaked during the playoffs, and only then if he is likely to be on the winning team’s bandwagon. Unfortunately for them, Christ the King is not a mascot for the sheep’s team or the goat’s team. On the playing field of life, Christ is the ball. We celebrate Christ as King because there is no victory without the ball. Apocalypse is nothing if not a reminder in the here and now to keep our eye on the ball. Yes, a Christmas season without Christ is like a game without a ball, a meaningless charade. However, the same can be said of every moment of every day. Therefore a “War on Christ” is an internal struggle. Those questions will not start “If the Son of Man comes…” but “When he comes…” Apocalypse only asks of us, “May God be all in all?” If the Lord is our shepherd, and we truly want nothing else, then our worthy struggle ends when only after we faithfully and emphatically say “Yes…we will begin inheriting the kingdom right now.”

Rhett Engelking
Director of Franciscan Earth Corps

Suggested Petitions:

May our eyes be opened to see the least of our brothers and sisters as God sees them… Let us pray

May we put our full trust in God that He is our Shepard and we shall not want… Let us pray

Collect Prayer

Almighty ever-living God,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,
grant, we pray,
that the whole creation, set free from slavery,
may render your majesty service
and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


The Question

November 17, 2014

November 17, St. Elizabeth of Hungry The Question Luke 18:35-43

“What do you want me to do for you?” The question I asked last night of a number of people, and they wanted food, needles, and simply for me to spend time with them.

Jesus asks us the same question. And he always answers us with the same love he gave the man outside of Jericho, giving us what we need, But then what happens? In the first chapter of Revelation we read “You have lost the love you had at first?” We get mixed up in the things of the world–our status, our money, our loves–and then we lose sight of our true Love. We get caught up in questions of belief, and of the sins of the Church that we lose sight of our first love.

For me I have found that by remaining faithful praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the Eucharist–keeping my eyes focused on the cross—in season and out of season–every thing else fades, and I find the Crucified One in each person I meet. When I am asked what my greatest accomplishment has been in these twenty years it is simply being faithful, picking one foot up after the other and following Jesus towards Galilee. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The Pythagorean Principle
“As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”
~ Pythagoras

Risk Taking

November 16, 2014

November 16, 2014, Risk Taking UCA Martyrs Matt 25:14-30

The parable of the talents is telling us that unless we do not take risks we basically fade away, we die psychologically. Today in 1989 in El Salvador six Jesuits, their house keeper and daughter were murdered by the death squads–they risked everything. My whole life has been a risk for the past twenty years–and I have found in taking those risks — life; Fr. Roy Bougerise, Sister Helen Prejean are risk takers, and they are far younger than their seventy something years.

Risk taking for us can be as simple as befriending a homeless person we see each day, buying them some food, or simply taking time to chat with them. On Thanksgiving Day I will have tons of calls from people to volunteer–and then after that nothing–take a risk and volunteer, commit your time. Risk taking is simply reaching beyond our boundaries and showing love and care for another–painful at times, but the reward is far greater than the disappointment. Take a risk. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The Pythagorean Principle
“As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”
~ Pythagoras

A Persistent Widow

November 16, 2014

Persistent Widow Luke 18:1-8

Jesus told the story of the persistent widow, she never gives up until she gets what she wants from the judge. In many ways I play both rolls–I never give up on my work–I persist with money, without money, and I find what I need’ and yet I am like the judge–there are times when my door bell rings, my phone rings, or I see a text, I think–oh fuck that; but they keep on buzzing me and I talk to them, I give them food, I hang out. It is not a matter of not having boundaries, it is a matter of another’s need.

The picture on face book tonight is of two guys from Kentucky singing music as a gift to me for the food and socks I gave them. They are travelers and are not looking for services or housing, they trust in fate. When we look at the homeless “problem” we need to remember that many people choose this way of life, and I believe we should honor and respect their wishes. I have always found much delight in hanging out with all of these guys, for they give far more back than they are ever given. In times of my own crisis , invariably it is one of my street kids who has been there. It is a give and take and that is the delight I find, and that is why as reluctant as I am to get up, I get up and serve them. My donors have never really grasped how grateful I am for their giving for it has enabled me to serve and to hang out with these guys for so long with so much joy.

For me there is also a lot of power that comes out of our witness. For the power of one has a lot of power. Dr. Will Tuttle basically witnesses alone and he has influenced so many. Here is his reading for today:

When we cultivate mindful awareness of the consequences of our food choices and conscientiously adopt a plant-based way of eating, refusing to participate in the domination of animals and the dulling of awareness this requires, we make a profound statement that both flows from and reinforces our ability to make connections.

We become a force of sensitivity, healing, and compassion. We become a revolution of one, contributing to the foundation of a new world with every meal we eat. As we share our ideas with others, we promote what may be the most uplifting and healing revolution our culture has ever experienced. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

A Religon of One’s Own

November 15, 2014



Thomas Moore presents a guide for individuals to create their own spirituality outside the bounds of the traditional organized religious organizations. It is book that in our age speaks loudly to a the major portion of society that has difficulty with organized religions and their set beliefs.

From my own experience it speaks to me in that it is the way in which through the years, not knowing it, I came to be who I am, and am becoming. Recently a 25 year old friend, whom I have known since he was 14 came to visit, I believe one of the reasons for seeing me was to explain why 7 years ago, his senior year in high school, he basically withdrew from communication. It was a great conversation. He commented: “I began to pull into the mainstream and you remained on the edge, and you were always so generous with me no matter what I did, and you were generous with everyone, and caring and I did not understand.”

I grew up and practiced a traditional ministry, but when I came out, my world was not out from under me. Everything I believed was in question,. and through that journey of questioning I developed a “religion of one’s own.” A spirituality that speaks to me, that guides me and sustains me. On the surface I am a very orthodox Christian, and I am very Christ-centered, but through the fire of the journey I have come to see people as very fragile creatures, and that God in Christ loves each one of them for who they are. I can not bring my own judgment on others when I am the “biggest bastard of all,” and I know that, and I know that Jesus redeemed me. One young man commented “you must have done some really awful things to do what you do now, to hang out with us,” and the truth is I hang out with everyone regardless because I am redeemed, and forgiven, not to get “:karma”. I have come to see that wealth stops the development of one’s life. I encourage people to live simply and give the rest to those who do not have it. I have come to see all of us as spiritual beings in whatever we believe or do not believe in, and therefore there is no right or wrong way to believe. And I do live on the edge, I push the envelope. I call it the way I see it, regardless of my own persona consequences, without apology. Like my friend Dr. Will Tuttle I stir the fire within people, and I do that without apology. People often ask me, “Why don’t you have a partner? Why don’t you have a significant other?” And again that comes from my journey, I remember a time a long time ago I thought about settling down with someone, and my boss at the time said, “You can have the one, or you can serve the thousands.” And I chose the thousands, and that has been the greatest gift of all, to serve, to love, to care for the thousands. I have found being removed from my former denomination was God’s gift of leading me to develop a religion of my own, in other words to let God create from the fires within me the place to where he leads me. It is a painful experience, but Moore is correct in that it is the fulfilling way to live one’s life. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The contemporary vegan movement is founded on loving-kindness and mindfulness of our effects on others. It is revolutionary because it transcends and renounces the violent core of the herding culture in which we live. It is founded on living the truth of interconnectedness and thereby consciously minimizing the suffering we impose on animals, humans, and biosystems; it frees us all from the slavery of becoming mere commodities. It signifies the birth of a new consciousness, the resurrection of intelligence and compassion, and the basic rejection of cruelty and domination. It is our only real hope for the future of our species because it addresses the cause rather than being concerned merely with effects. Dr. Will Tuttle

The Kingdom of God Is Within

November 13, 2014

November 13 “The Kingdom of God Within” Luke 17:20-25

“…the kingdom of God does not come by counting the days on the calendar.. .Because the Kingdom of God is already among you.”

Father Ellacuria defines the civilization of poverty as “a universal state of affairs that guarantees the satisfaction of basic needs, the freedom to make personal choices, and a space for personal and communal creativity that shapes new forms of life and culture; these in turn engender new relationships with nature, with other human beings, within oneself, and with God.” Utopia? or is this what Jesus is talking about when he says the “The Kingdom of God is within you.”

Each day as we read the paper we hear of the pain of the housing crisis in San Francisco, but this pain stretches across the world in all directions with the wealthy gathering more and more resources, and causing so much pain to so many. We can sit and wring out hands or we can individually simply say enough is enough and in so doing we will come together as a force, and live our lives more simply and give our excess to those in need; and speak this truth to our local government, our state government and our national government. We need to turn away from being concerned for ourselves and being concerned with all of our brothers and sisters.

The new medical team being formed to work with people on the streets is focusing their mission with keeping people healthy in the street environment because there is no housing to meet the needs of the homeless. We need to face the reality that our own selfish needs is making this situation possible and move into sharing and giving up, and facing reality. We need to open our churches, our vacant buildings, our gyms to provide shelter at night.

I was once told that I was a “dreamer”, a Don Quiote, chasing after windmills–and I am. That is why I am a Catholic Worker–for I am a dreamer that we as humans can love our neighbors. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Being Grateful

November 12, 2014

November 12, “Being Grateful” Lucretia Mott, Luke 17:11-20

I am often asked, “Are the people on the streets grateful?” And like the one out of the 10 there are some who are grateful; but I always turn the question around and asked the person, “Are you grateful?” For I see no difference in being housed or un housed in gratefulness.

I write a thank you note for each donation and each gift we receive, I write a thank you note for each gift given to me personally, and each time someone takes me out for a meal. I have people tell me not to bother–it is “wasting stamps”, it is “wasting time you can be using to serve people,” and so on. For me it is not only showing my utmost appreciation for the person, but my way of showing them how much I respect them for their time and effort, for I am truly grateful, it is not just an exercise. I have often said that when I get so busy I can not show my appreciation than I will quit–for when we show appreciation we are respecting the Divine within each person.

Secondly, I read this quote from Black Hawk: “The land is the general and equal possession of all humanity; and therefore be the property of individuals.” We are so property and money possessed that we lose sight of the care and welfare of others. We fail to show our gratefulness for the humanity of others.

For you see what I believe with all my heart as Dorothy did, and all Catholic Workers that I know and respect, believe is that if each of us would take time to reach out to one person a day with food, care, and provide for their needs than there would be no hunger, no housing shortage, no lack of medical care. For our society would be changed in our actions. It begins with each of us to show our gratefulness for who we are and what we have. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The multitude of your sacrifices―what are they to me?’ says the Lord.

‘I have more than enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats….

Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight.’ ”
~ Isaiah 1:11, 15-16


November 11, 2014

November 11, Martin of Tours, Called to Be Servants Luke 17:7-10

Tonight at my door an elderly homeless man came up to me with an article he wrote in a “homeless writing class”. What struck me about the article was that he wrote of “watching what I eat each day, so I have enough,”, for the article was about his searching for food all day. He is mentally ill, and roams the streets. An hour later 19 year old “D” came by. He too has mental illness, lives with his parents and boyfriend, has SSI, and he talked about his struggles, how hard he strives to live a “normal” life, his depression, his fears. If it was not for his parents he would be homeless.

In the parable today we are called to simply be servants, I look at my degrees, my certificates of honor, and in talking to these two guys they mean nothing. The fact that I took time to listen, and to show care meant everything. In this parable of the servants God simply expects us to be about the business of serving him, without reward, and that service is to listen, love and to provide for those who have nothing. , A friend of mine commented tonight that she feels no one in the City really cares about other people–they just want to get what they can. And frankly for the most part she is right–for I see very little of people reaching out. The City officials simply ignore the homeless and the low income. Jesus calls us to be servants–expecting nothing in return–we are called to be his hands, his feet, his mouth, his legs==we are called to be his presence. As we enter Advent in a few weeks, let us reflect on how we carry out our duties as servants. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Making the effort to cultivate our awareness and see beyond the powerful acculturation we endured brings understanding.Healing, grace and freedom come from understanding. Love understands. Dr. Will Tuttle

From understanding, we can embrace our responsibility and become a force for blessing the world with our lives, rather than perpetuating disconnectedness and cruelty by proxy.


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