“Where Jacob Wrestled with God” Father River Damien Sims M.Div., D.S.T.
P.O. Box 642656,
San Francisco, CA 94164
JOURNAL OF AN ALIEN STREET PRIEST
1. 46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
2. 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
3. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
4. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
5. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
6. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
7. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
8. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
9. 54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
10. 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.
11. 56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
As we enter Advent and the Christmas Season, we will be overwhelmed with the commercials of the “perfect” Christmas where everyone is happy and having a joyful time. The world that I live and move in is just the opposite. I see people of all ages struggling to survive minute by minute: Jay, a 15-year-old Chinese young man thrown out of his home because he is gay, simply living with anything he can find; Judi, 30, who is a sex worker, a drug user, a mother, going from one “date” to another; Larry who has a grocery basket full of belongings, and sleeps outside my door and hangs out on Polk each day, simply living; and the list goes on and on. There are thousands of individuals like these guys, literally thousands, and they are passed by each day ignored, mistreated. The majority have some form of mental illness, and little treatment available.
Lance Cheslock wrote an article in the La Puente Newsletter in which he states that HOMELESSNESS IS A SYMPTOM, NOT A PROBLEM and he says:
“Homelessness is a symptom of:
-Lack of affordable housing
-Fallout from addiction
-Lack of low-wage jobs for low skilled workers
-Access to health care
-Limitations of services for the mentally ill, veterans, immigrants and other subpopulations
-Family dysfunction/domestic violence.”
The message of Mary is that Jesus is bringing in the reign of God NOW. The reign of God comes into the present in the actions of those who follow Jesus. We can make a difference in our own “little way,” as St. Teresa once said. We can advocate through the mail, email, text, phone, and in person with our legislators to face the reality of the homeless crisis–to change our funding to meet those needs, and to work with people on looking at how each one of us can meet those needs. Governor Jerry Brown has taken actions to deal with the drought. We need like-minded actions to deal with homelessness–they will be tough, they will affect all of us, but we need to sacrifice to provide for others;
Secondly, each of us can work with our local churches, synagogues, temples, and secular organizations to open their doors for the homeless, to provide shelter, food, and healthcare. We need to move out of our “tribes” into the world at large and provide for people;
Thirdly, each of us can participate in the “little way” of St. Teresa by simply paying attention to people we encounter on the street. One of my street youth commented to me recently, when he saw me and I did not have the food he liked, “River, it does not matter. You spend time with me, everyone else does not give a f…ck.” It is simply in the giving of our presence that Christ meets people. Buy them something to eat or to drink, give them some of your excess clothes. If you have none of that, simply chat with someone–that means life or death to many, the human touch of voice and care.
Let us rejoice in God our Savior this Advent Season–let us be Christ to others! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND CHRISTMAS MEALS
Meal and Christmas Gifts in the Haight at 3:00–6:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Meal and Gifts in Hemlock Alley on Polk
Service/Snacks/Gifts in the Haight at 5:00 p.m.
WE ARE BEGGARS
Temenos Catholic Worker, a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit, operates on donations–your gifts, given out of the generosity of your hearts. We give out ten thousand pairs of socks a month; feed countless meals; provide pastoral care to many; hang out with countless individuals. We make countless hospital calls. Only two percent of our budget goes to administrative costs. The needs are increasing. People are always asking how do you survive, and our answer is by the grace of God, and the generosity of people who love others. So please open up your hearts and minds to our needs.
This year we are giving each person on the street a stocking cap–we have purchased 1000 stocking caps. They are your gifts.
For those of you who have given this past year, if you need a tax summary please email me at email@example.com and I will send you one.
Thank you for your giving this past year, thank you for your love of me, and your love of the individuals we serve. They are not clients, parishioners to me, but my friends, and your friends as well.
Please give through snail mail:
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
Pal pal on http://www.temenos.org
May you have a Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
Thank you really from the bottom of my heart.