Archive for August, 2011

Miracles

August 31, 2011

Luke 4:38-44 The Catholic bishops wrote: “When the story of Jesus is truly our story, when we have caught his fire, when his good news shapes our lives individually. .his influence wil be felt far beyond our Church.” When we move away from our bias and open our hearts the story of Jesus will transform our lives–to seeing all–all races, sexual orientations, creeds, as children of God–and we can work miracles in our midst. People asked how I can afford to serve 500-600 people a month meals, and do outreach and serve another 500 or so, and my response it is the miracle of trusting in Jesus.

“Fiction in Authority”

August 30, 2011

Luke 4:31-37  “He taught them. and spoke with authority.”  Seventeen years ago when I first began Temenos I was told by a person, “You are working with out credentials”–“authority” from anyone.  To her there was something wrong with working on your own. Well seventeen years later I am still working, but I do have credentials–ordination, the episcopacy, the non-profit, but most of all the credibility of the work.  Authority comes from the way we live our lives, move and have our being–it comes from within ourselves–not from some other person. That is the authority that Jesus has.

“Fiction In Materialism”

August 29, 2011

Today is the Feast of the Martydom of John the Baptist. He knew what it meant to tell the truth and to live on the edge.  He knew that materialism was a death dealing mentality.  People asked me why I do not raise large sums of money, but ony what I need–it is simple and summed up in this quote:” People cannot trust in both Jesus and their material possessions at the same time.  Either one or the other must be served.”

“Fiction in the Future”

August 25, 2011

Matthew 24:42-51 One of the biggest fictions in modern living is preparing for the future, getting the next buck, looking to retirement. Karl Rahner said: “Christ’s return to judge all men and women and to complete his redeeming work is an event of the future, and yet he is constantly on the point of coming.”Jesus comes everyday of our lives. He came with my visitor yesterday–a 20 year old girl on a journey of searching for meaning, in the kids I saw yesterday–needing food, attention, blankets. He comes to day in the meal I will serve, he becomes body and blood to the 100 I will serve tonight. We live in the present, not the future, nor the past.

“Living Out the Non Fiction in Our Lives”

August 22, 2011

Matthew 23:13-22 The Pharasees concentrated on the perfection of external observance; they were people living on the diet of rubrics  Jesus accused them of locking people out: “You shut up the reign of God in people’s faces.”And so it is with us when we shut people out of our churches, our of the Eucharist.  When our liturgy, our church buildings become more important then individuals–we are shutting out the reign of God.

Living

August 20, 2011

Matt. 22:34-40 In our Scripture for today Jesus tells us that the greatest commandments are to love God and our neighbor—he brought this love a step forward–love to death. The life and death of Jesus is a self sacrificing love.–Today I learned of Fr. Richard Purcell’s death–he loved people with AIDS to death–he took care of them until they died, and he suffered a deabilitiating illness through which he bore witnessed until death-his was a reflection of Christ’s love. Today I helped get food for kids in the Philipeans, and a young man get food for college, tonight I am doing outreach. I talked to two earlier, one is thirty, but looks forty. I remember Steve when he was a cute kid of 17, and another is trying to get a date at 25 to pay rent. For me loving them means being present, and walking with them, that is what I do.  I why I do this ministry, and I said I felt a call–like always this person wanted an explanation of how I knew. And like always said I simply came to this call through the highways and byways of my life. Jesus called me to ministry when i was 12, I remember that night as if it was yesterday, my heart was strangely warmed, and that call lead me to ordination, to the parish, and then I was out of ministry for two years, and God continued to call me, my heart was lead to work with these guys, through my own experience as a sex worker, my own sense of homelessness, and being alone. I thought tonight how close I came to be one of those guys, looking for the next date, and yet I am here working with them and loving them. The call to this work came slowly, through my own experince. It is a very painful call at times, a very lonely call. I can identify with these guys in that I often feel alone, most of my colleagues here in the City have no idea of what I do–most can’t understand why I work so late-after all don’;t “most people go to bed”. But it is a call that gives me so much joy, so much satisfaction–it is the pearl of great price. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Fiction in Believing We Are the Only One’s”

August 18, 2011

Mt. 20:1-16  . . .So it will be: the last will be first, and the first will be last.”  There is much fiction in believing we are the “only one’s of anything.”  In following Jesus, the way I am lead to follow is not THE WAY, nor is following Jesus the only way to God. I believe that God looked over the world and saw different people, nationalities, and has revealed himself in many ways: to the Jews God is the One God, to Islam God as seen through the Prophet, the Hindus their way of seeing God.  But ultimately we come to the same Realtiy of a God who created us, loves us, and will guide us into the future.

Preaching the Gospel

August 16, 2011

There is a lovely lady who is always asking me: “What exactly do you do?” She usually askes me after 7:30 a.m. Eucharist and I am not exactly one to be talking before noon. As we approach my seventeenth anniversary in ministry in San Francisco I remember an aramic translation of the response of the 12 year old Jesus to his parents when they found him after they could not find him when going to the temple, he replied: “I heard my Father call my name–How could I not respond?”

 

I look back to when I was attending church camp at Arcadia in the Missouri Ozarks when I was 12 years old, and I remember a camp fire and that night I felt my heart strangely warmed and I heard Jesus call my name and I have been responding to that call ever since. I have been criticized for being single minded in pursuing my work, my call,and my answer is I am simply responding to that call that came to me long ago–“to preach the gospel, using as few as words as possible.”  Those are the words of St. Francis and they fit the work that I do. 

 

My days are never the same, and yet–they are the same.  For I am preaching the Gospel when I celebrate the Eucharist on a Sunday, in the alley, and wherever I am called to preach publicly.  I preach the Gospel in the 350 meals a week we serve, I preach it in the prepration of the food–the simple cutting, and mixing; I preach the Gospel in serving the meals–listening in the moment to each person who takes the food, who wants to talk; I preach the Gospel in the food I hand out each night as I do outreach–the potato chips, the cookies, the brownies all bring comfort to 450 people a week; I preach the Gospel in the thousand pair of socks we give out a month, the harm reduction supplies we provide, and the blankets that are given. Each night as I walk the Haight and Polk I encounter one person after another–some I have known for seventeen years, broken, hurting, others I have just met and I spend time with them listening, caring, and in so doing I am preaching the Gospel.  I visit in the hospital, I celebrate funerals, weddings, baptisms–I am preaching the Gospel

 

When I am asked: “What exactly do you do?” I laugh because I do that to which I was called many years ago–long before the last 17–to preach the Gospel, to be a pastor in the doorways, the byways, the streets, in the darkness of the night–I “preach the Gospel using as few words as possible”.

 

And so in this anniversary month of Temenos Catholic Worker I thank all of you for your support, your love, your presence.  I am never alone, for you are always with me, and those who have gone before me are with me in that Great

Cloud of Witnesses.  For in each hand I hold, each meal we serve, you are present.

Fiction in Security: A Letter to Jesus

August 11, 2011

Dear Jesus:

 

Today you say in the Gospel of John that “unless a grain wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat, but if it dies it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life will loses it in this world, but who hate it in this world will gain it.”  Throughout my life  I have struggled with giving up comfortablity and security, but in so doing I have found my life.  For me this scripture is so true.  Today is the anniversary of my college gradutation, and I was starting seminary the next month, , and I looked forward to finishing seminary and getting the security of ordination. But when i did finish, and did get that security I really never felt secure. I looked to family and friends and job to provide that security, but ultimately there is no security–the only security that I have found is in you. In giving myself away, in letting go, have I found security. My spiritual director shared with me today a story about how all of us are prodigal sons in this world. We came into this world without being asked, we live here in complete insecurity, and only when we return to you do we find that security. We are all prodigals, and none of us are really secure until we look to you and trust in you.  In so doing we see that we are called to love each other, to care for each other.So my dear Jesus as I continue to walk with you I trust in you, and in trusting in you I have security. Amen.

“Fiction in Our Immigration Laws

August 9, 2011

Matt. 17:22-23 St. Mary Mackillop  . . .”The Son of the Human One is going to be betrayed into human hands. . ”  Jesus knew from the very beginning that he was going to die for what he taught.  Today I drove a young man to get a table and other items for his apartment. He is here illegally.  There is so much fiction in our immigration laws. This young guy has it all together, he works his ass off, and yet he can get in big trouble.  So much fiction in our laws. We worry about “what is ours”, rather then worrying about “what we can do for others.