Archive for November, 2009

“Follow Me”-St. Andrew

November 30, 2009

Matthew 4:18-22–The Calling of Andrew:  Dom Hubert Van Zeller wrote: “The soul hardly ever realizes it, but whether one is a believer or not, one’s loneliness is really a homesickness for God.”

People asked me if I ever get lonely because I am not married or do not have a significant other, but the I do not, because in the last few years I have found God to be present in my life, and in everything I do. As long as I stay in right relationship with him and work at that relationship I live in satisfaction with life, I am happy, even though I do not like using the word happy, because of the giddy connotations, but in season or out as long as I stay in touch with God I am happy.  I spent yesterday basically in bed resting. Today I begin my work week. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

 

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“Letting Go”

November 28, 2009

Lk 21:34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from dissipation and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Letting go is hard for me to do.  Nietzsche said that “the mother of dissipation is not joy, but joylessness”. My “dissipation” is not drugs are alcohol, but I have trouble with relationships. I have a long time friend now who is very abusive emotionally and I have excused him, felt sorry for him, but now I know I must treat him like  with so many  others in my life who while a they can not help it, are abusive,  I have to put my guard down,  not let him close.  My relationship with him is pure joylessness, and is destructive to all the other relationships in my life because I let this one effect me.  And so now I must be “vigilant at all times” because it is in that vigilance that I do ministry and do it well.  I feel like I have failed him, but the reality I have bore with him in patience and tired to work with him, and he has become very abusive, and so now I must dust the feet off my feet and move on.

I went on a long hike with David yesterday, got damp, was getting a cold last night, came in and went to bed and slept until 9:00 this morning. I am getting ready to go to he Haight to serve a meal and to do outreach. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God1″

“The Reign of God is Near”

November 27, 2009

Luke 21:29-31. . .”you know the kingdom of God is near”

Yesterday,  Thanksgiving, I felt the nearness of the reign of God in the friends I spent Thanksgiving with, but more so in the people I served a meal to last night.  All were high or drunk, all struggling with the holiday, but in those moments of time I spent with them I found God present. Just a few minutes ago I took Ian to get a slice of pizza. His girlfriend had been gone all day and he was worried, and he had had nothing to eat, and was lonely, we spent some time together, and he smiled, and I saw the face of Jesus.  I am tired, very tired. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!”

“Persecution”

November 26, 2009

St. Catherine of Alexander, virgin and martyr

Luke 21:12-19

Jesus warns of persecution and of arrest for following him.  I have experienced in my ministry persecution, attempts on my life, and because of the work I do and of the One I represent–Jesus. I know what it means to face pain and death, and I have learned to embrace it, for in embracing it I am set free to live my life and to serve. People often asked me if I am afraid on the streets, and the truth is No.  I have faced those fears years ago, they are a part of my life, and I live in a peace of trust in Jesus.

I spent the day working on thank you notes, sermon for the weekend and tomorrow, and I am doing outreach.  I have spent some time with three or four people tonight, who are lonely, and depressed.  Another calls wanting money and is depressed, and so I am doing what I love doing and am thankful that I still have the energy and stamina to do it, I thank God each day for each moment I have. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“With Fear and Trembling”

November 24, 2009

Gospel
Lk 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

One of my favorite scriptures is found in Philippians: Paul tells us to: “Work out out salvation with fear and trembling.” What I believe he means is that when we live out our faith in the world we will go against the the ways of the world, and therefore there will be much fear and trembling. Jesus in the text for today is telling the disciples as he nears the end of his life that for him the world is ending, that the world is bringing his life to an end and that they should be ware that when they follow him they to may experience the end of the world–they to may face death.  To live out one’s faith in the light of Jesus who calls us to love our neighbor as we love God puts us in conflict with a world that basically treats people like “shit”.  We are called to live out the Gospel of love in a different way then the world–treating people with equality, with honor, and with respect.  Not seeing a profit motive or any other motive but in that we are all brothers and sisters.

Andrew spent yesterday with me working on some community service hours. I have known him since he was a sophmore in high school, he is now a senior in college. He was there for me when I was sick four years ago, and it was great spending time with him. He is an adult now, still as silly as always, still as much fun, but soon he must find a job and enter into the real world. I had breakfast with Rose yesterday morning and it was awesome to spend time with one of the best friends I have ever had, who puts up with me no matter what. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Giving More Than I Have”

November 23, 2009

Luke 21:1-4: “When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.  He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put more in then all the rest; for those others have made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

“For what use is it when you give as much of your wealth as someone might give a spoonfull of water from the ocean, and you don’t imitate the widow’s generosity of spirit?”  St. John Chrysotom

“God, give me the courage to be revolutionary as your Son Jesus Christ was.  Give me the courage to loosen myself from this world.  Teach me to stand up free and to shun no criticism.  God, it is for  your kingdom.  Make me free, make me poor in this world.  Then will I be rich in the real world which this life is all about.  Henri Nouwen

We are called to give till we hurt.  People are generous at Thanksgiving, Christmas, but the rest of the time they simply give very little.  Non–profits are hurting, people are hurting, and if people will take the heart this story of Jesus then no one would be without.

I am up early to have breakfast with Rose, to go and get food for tomorrow.  I slept all day yesterday.  Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Do You Ask this Of Your Own?”

November 23, 2009

John 18:33-37  “Feast of Christ the King”

. . . .Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell others tell y0u about me?. .”

Today is the Feast of Christ the King. We celebrate this every year not understanding the reason behind its existence. In 1925 the monarchs of Europe were under the force of the coming of democracy and they asked the Pope to name this as a part of the church year in  order to promote monarchy. This is simply a sign of the the compromise of the church to the politics of its time. It should not even be on the calendar.  In the text for today  Jesus asks Pilate where is questions for him are coming from, very appropriately should the church look at where its questions come from and where we should ask of our questions. Do we know Jesus our selves or do we take what others tell us and appropriate that in our belief system? Do we know Jesus for who he is? or Do we know of Him from others?  Yesterday a friend was asking about why I have chosen a life of celibacy. He is an agnostic. He has a hard time understanding my relationship with this unseen figure of Jesus, who has dominated my life since I was 12 years old.  For me Jesus is real, alive, and present.  My relationship is the reason I live the life of live and raise the questions I raise.  For me Jesus is my a relationship that embraces me and demands my totality.

Last night I had the meal in the Haight with members of a local church present. It was really a weird time.  For I seemed  in such a surreal world. Their questions were of people who have no real understanding of homelessness nor of the way in which I work. It was surreal in that they served the food and then had dinner and left to go back to their lives and I remained and did outreach. I dealt with around 90 or so people last night in eight hours. Some for short periods, some longer, but all in need.

Today I stayed in bed until 4 p.m.. I was simply exhausted, just exhausted, had dinner with Stephen and will be going back to bed shortly.  Tomorrow will be a long day beginning at 6:00. What seems strange to me is people talk to me of “my work”, and I really do not feel like I work. What I do is a part of my life, it is a seamless thread.  I simply am living my life.  It is hard for people to understand that. But my life is fulfilled and fun. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“We Are All Family”

November 21, 2009

Matthew 12:46-50-. . . . .Here are my mother and brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus was simply expanding the concept of family–all of us are family. In his time, and for the most part as of now, we think of family as those who are our blood relatives–“family first”, hence people outside that circle are not seen.  My dad used to say “family first, then everyone else comes next.”  This putting people into groups has excluded the millions and the world.  Jesus is saying: we are all brothers and sisters and we should take care of each other as brothers and sisters. No exclusions–and if we viewed humanity in that way then we would meet the needs of all. Holidays are the most exclusionary time of all–people are left out, they are excluded if they do not have families.  I serve a meal to my family on holidays, and it is the family of the streets.  I spent yesterday with Marilyn, did outreach last night. Found out a boyhood friend had died, and am rather down, life is so damn short, bed at 1:00 a.m. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

‘Genuine Christian Love”

November 20, 2009

Luke 19:45-48: “Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; . . . .

Genuine Christian love is forged against the anvil of our selfishness and possessiveness
… It is important to remember that love is more than a feeling. It is active and transitive. The real test of my loving is not that I feel loving, but that the other person feels loved by me. Love is what I do to create this sense of feeling cared for.

– Morton T. Kelsey, from his book Companions on the Inne

Today has  been a long day, a good day. It hit me that I get tired because I keep on going, and because I enjoy what I am doing–what I do is not really work to me, but what I enjoy doing.  I spent the afternoon cooking and then served the meal with Ken on Polk.  I took out 19 year old Dennis for his birthday.  He was high on speed, and we spent forty five minutes, me primarily listening to him.  After the meal I rested for a while and then went out and did outreach.  As I moved among people talking, giving out socks and food, there was a sense of real neediness tonight. As I was walking up the street one guy, someone I had never met screamed at me: “You fucking scum bag.”  Another was angry because I would not give him money.  Kelsey’s quote speaks to me tonight,  loving is not about feeling, but about caring, and I passed through still caring for those guys, wondering what kind of pain they must be in to react to me the way they did. It is like the woman on the street corner who refuses to speak to me because I gave her a pair of “used socks” one day. These guys go through their lives shutting people out, to the point they are totally alone.  In many ways one sees that with our scripture tonight as well–I know people who desire to dwell in the temple of God, who desire to be close to God yet they feel so pressured to survive, and their appetite for money can so possess them that they find little space for Christ in their lives.  Money becomes their god, survival becomes the god of the guys on the street, to point they shut out the help of those who can help them.

It has been a good day. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“One Day At A Time”

November 19, 2009

Gospel
Lk 19:41-44

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If this day you only knew what makes for peace–
but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For the days are coming upon you
when your enemies will raise a palisade against you;
they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground and your children within you,
and they will not leave one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

St. Augustine warned us:  “Fear the Lord Jesus when he passes by, for he will not pass this way again.”  The Greeks saw opportunity as “kairos”, a fleet-footed boy who flashes past.  We must be alert if we are to catch him.  Through the years I have let Jesus pass me by a number of times. When people talk about my single mindedness, my “fanaticism” about my work,  it is because I have let Jesus pass by me, and now I am catching up. For Jesus is comes to us and summons us, and if we are not aware he will pass us by. I remember a couple many years ago who was going to do the work I do when they retired with their full pension, and then the husband died suddenly and the wife became ill in her early 50’s.  That is one of the reasons I began my work early–because I knew that Jesus would not pass my way again. If we wait for enough money, enough space, enough time we will always be waiting. For me it is one day at a time. Struggling, and serving, but one day at a time, for I know Jesus will not pass this way again.

I spent yesterday frankly relaxing. I did some office work, but stayed in bed last night. The days ahead are going to be long, with out much break from people. I was thinking this morning at my anger at a volunteer who on Tuesday night teased me about my cooking. Even though he was teasing me I became rather angry–because I spend hours cooking the meals, and they are important to me.  I know the meals are not what most of my volunteers are used to–beans and rice, pasta with marinade sause, but they are good meals, and I spend a lot of time cooking and preparing. I have been working on the meal for tonight already for two hours, much love and time goes into it.  I felt bad for being irritated, but I realize why feel bad about responding to the insensitivity of people.  I am cooking the meal now and will be all afternoon. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God”