Archive for September, 2011

St. Michael, Gabriel, and Saint Raphael

September 29, 2011

Revelation 12:7-12  People joke about the “devil”, but there is a “devil”, an evil that permeates our lives–if we are not aware of it, it will destroy us.  I see the devil in the war machine, in the talk of our government in regard to cuts, in the homphobia, sexism, racism of groups in our society.  We have to work at bringing out the good, seeing the angels in us, and letting them prevail, rather then the dark side.  I was touched last night as I worked, the kids with sweetness in their faces as I gave them blankets, food, and time, the older one’s with a warmth in their eyes as I talked to them, gave them blankets, socks and food.  I was touched with seeing the very face of Jesus. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Success

September 27, 2011
Advent is a time in which we celebrate God becoming human in the form of the person of Jesus.  When people asked me about my successes I often feel uncomfortable because they are looking through the lens of the modern ethos of success. They see me surrounded by hurting people, people enslaved to drugs and poverty, and they are asking is there any hope for them to live better lives. Advent in our society is often a time when we worship the false god of success, the god of materialism, economic security, showing others who we are by what we have.
 
   For me success is seeing people become more human.  In the film “Network”, William Holden spoke a line that I love, “Its all suddenly closer to the end than to the beginning and death is suddenly a perceptible thing to me with definable features.”  For me as I have spent 17 years on Polk/Haight, I have almost died twice, and Ilive on the edge, and live in a space where life is very fragile.  For me success takes on a new light–a light centered in the Gospels–walking with people, and working with them in becoming more human.  To have a young man apologize to me for tryng to assault me, steal from me, four years ago, is a success; to have man on his death bed who tried to kill me and killed my son repent asked for absoution is success; to have people who are shut down, and say little to most people talk to me and open up is a success.  For me success is seeing people become more human, to love themselves and others–that is success.
 
This to me is the message of Advent–that the Divine entered human form to bring humanity the grace and mercy of God, in order that people might become more human in their relationships.  Success for God is for humanity to love the Divine and in turn to love each other. And it is in loving God and thereby loving our neighbor that we reach out and meet our neighbors needs, sharing of our resources until no one wants physically.  
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“Who Do You Say That I Am?”

September 23, 2011

Lk. 9:18-22 “Who do you say that I am?”  Since I was 12 years old I have struggled with this question about Jesus.  For me the best summary is found in the faces of Deeth, Stevo, and all I serve-he is the broken One, the One who suffers with us, and loves us inspite of ourselves. The older I get the more I simply let go and give myself to his service, and that is all that matters. It is 5 in the morning, the fog horns are sounding, and I have a long day ahead, and as I celebrate the Eucharist–I hear his voice–“This is my body given for you.”

Who Is Jesus”

September 22, 2011

Luked 9:7-9 In our text Herod is perplexed trying to figure out who Jesus is?  To me Jesus is Gary, 25, the young blanck man on the corner, who is homeless, and has just gotten his social security beneifts, for me Jesus is Dillon, the 18 year old in the Haight who loves punk music and struggles with addiction. Jesus is alive for me in the works of all the people like Martin Depores, and St. Anthonys, and the catholic worker movement. This is Jesus–living in our midst. He is alive in the meal I am preparing now to serve tonight to a hundred people. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Returning to the Universal Family”

September 20, 2011

Luke 8:19-21 “Jesus mother and brothers came to him but were unable to reach him because of the crowd.
Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside wanting to see you.  He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who listen to God’s word and do it.”  Like the time of Jesus our age is divided by the false boundaries of family, corporations, race, creed, religion–and people suffer because of that division.  Yesterday I heard from two young men who were having difficulty, and they both said, “You are our family.”  In otherwords I loved them for who they are. That is what we are all called to do, to be inclusive in our love, and to share of what we have, so that no one will be without.

Returning

September 19, 2011

Ezra 1:1-6 Lk. 8:16-18 Saint Januarus

 

In the paper there seems to be more and more anger against homeless people, rather then looking at the society that has made them homeless, and needs to address their mental health and physical health issues. The Mayor has come up with a program to put “homeless people to work,” with out even looking at the mental health and addiction issues that abound. Today we have the pagan King Cyrus sending Jews back to their homeland to rebuild, and I wonder how many ae so comfortable that they just sit back and stayed, and then we have Jesus telling us to let our lamp shine. Rather than complain, bitch, we should move out of the exile of our comfort, and challenge, and I mean challenge our leaders, to do something about homelessness–call them to the task, and we should be willing to give up some of our own comfort, our tax money, our time, and work at the situtaiton–to provide a place for people to get treatment, to live, and to eat and have health care. We should let our own lights shine as a witness to Jesus in caring for those who have nothing. It is time for us to leave our exile, to return to a the Way–to sharing with our brothers and sisters. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God

“The Shadowlands”

September 16, 2011

As we approach Thanksgiving we will see the advertisments on T.V., the internet, the highway boards of all the goodness that we have received, and will see “happy familes” eating together.  We might even see in the San Francisco area some advertisments with queer couples, but for the most part they are straight.  And they are always middle to upper middle class.  I feel sad when I see all this buzz about the “perfect Thanksgiving.”  For one thing I live in the shadowlands. The shadowlands where people live day to day on the streets, fighting for survival–for their daily necessities, in  a world where benefits are being cut, where services are being cut.  I live in the shadowlands where I see native Americans are discriminated against, and the “white way” of life is promoted. I think of Candy, 38 years old who is mentally ill, and who begs for food daily, and fights for a blanket every night. I think of Jim, who is now 33, and his prostituion days are far behind, and he is going from one older guy to another, committing petty crimes just to survive.  I think of “Mike” who sits in front of Walgreens begging for food daily, and who will sit with me for hours crying Thanksgiving Day because he has no familly and no where to call home.

 

On Thanksgiving Day we will join with many other agencies to bring a sense of family to people who have no family.  This Thanksgiving what I am asking is that those who support our ministry spend some time during November thinking of the “Shadowlands”. That space where the majority of people in the world live–a space where there is little–and where oftentimes we live–a space where we live with our fears, our doubts, our own mortality. For you see all of us are the same–we live in the shadowlands–for we all face illness and death, and it is in Jesus that we come into the Light. The Light that offers us joy, hope, and resurrection.  And it is Jesus who invites us to be inclusive and see everyone–regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, economic background, as family, brothers and sisters, and to share of what we have.  It is in facing that we live in the shadowlands that we come face to face with the Light, and move into the Light.  So join me in the shadowlands this year and move with me into the Light. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Returning to Prayer:”

September 12, 2011

I Tim 2:1-8

I pray the liturgy of the hours–whether I want to or not–everyday, I celebrate the Eucharist everyday, and I read Scripture every day. I have no choice, for it sustains me, undergirds me, and reminds me that I am never alone Teresa of Avila said:

“Imagine that the Lord is at your side. .stay with so good a Friend for as long as you can. if he sees that you love him to be there and are always trying to please him, you will never be able, as we put it, to send him away, nor will he ever fail you. He will help you in all your trials,and you will have him everywhere.”  She knew that the only remedy
“when we had given up praying”, is to “begin again.”  So I persevere in the good times and the bad-. When people asked me my secret for not burning out–it is always returning to God–it is prayer.

Returning

September 10, 2011

Philipians 3:17  “Rejoice in the Lord Always: again I say rejoice.” Paul was in jail, near his time of execution when he wrote this  and yet he has faith, and that faith echoes down through the ages. I talked to a thirty five year old last night whom I have known since he was 18, same story every time–trys to stop using, can’t, gets a job, loses it, still on the street. There is Jake, 33, who has been on and off the street, and now has decided he belongs on the street.  People asked how I can handle seeing this pain, and suffering–but for me it is always returning to the source, always rejoicing in the Lord–for all is in his hand, and our task is simply to do the best that we can–offer a kind word, food, care–and leave the rest in his hands.  On this feast day of the blessed Virgin we remember that is what she did–“pondered all these things in her heart”, and followed God. We must return to God.

“Pressing Towards the Prize”

September 9, 2011

Philipians 3:1-16 (Episcopal Lectionary “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ.” In the midst of hoping our politicians will provide for our needs, what would happen if we saw ourselves as pilgrims, providing for the welfare of people around us, sharing what we have, rather then trying to build our home here, but looking to our home in God–if each one of us provided equally, all would be fed, housed, cared for.