Archive for March, 2012

Busyness

March 29, 2012

Jn. 8:51-59, Mark 14-15

Many years ago a young man committed suicide–I had to him two hours before to come back later and talk because I was “busy”. Granted he did not tell me he was having problems, but the reality is I might have found out and given him support if I had not been “busy”.    I believe I betray Jesus when I am to “busy” for people. I never say those words any more, I always find time for people, like for the young man who called me from the Castro yesterday and wanted to talk. The word of Jesus is to pay attention to every person for in that person you meet Christ.  Keeping the word of Jesus is not being “busy” for people.

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Love God

March 28, 2012

Jn. 8:3e1-42  Mk. 13:24-37

With another year passing, I see time gettng shorter; some of my friends who are past sixty are already pulling in the covers–“After sixty people can’t change, . .etc.”  My attitude–not sixty yet, but closer, is that you live until you die. I am preparing for my death by making sure my will, etc is in order, but spiritually I live each moment trying to love as God loves me, and for me that is the sign of being a Christian–is love–with out regards to race, creed, religion, gender–but simply feeding the hungry, caring for the dying, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison–and when I die my prayer is I am busy doing just that–and I walk into God’s presence. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

To the Lowest Depths

March 27, 2012

In John Jesus is using to humor to say that he will go to the place no one else will go–to where people who commit suicide go when they die–he reaches out to the lowes of the lowest. In the passages from Mark Jesus is basically summoning us to be present in the world now–and be him to other people. He calls us to ministers in the lowest depths in this world.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Following Jesus

March 26, 2012

The Annuciation Luke 1:26-38

Mary followed God without question, and for me on my birthday–that is all I can do–follow in trust. I think about the end of my own life, and for me that is when the “second coming” will be. Afraid–yes–but I have trust in God.  My friends have commented how “tired” I seem the past few days–and it is an emotional tiredness. There have been six deaths on the street in the last month, one was a young guy of 17 who hung himself with a rope in the park, and I saw him hanging and dealt with the kids right after it happened.  I am tired emotionally, but I am content with my work, my call, and I know this is for what I was born.

The unbelieving mind would not be convinced by any proof, and the worshiping heart needs none.
  – A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Knowledge of the Holy

Lenten Bible Study–Final Sections

March 26, 2012

SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION—SESSION 10-March 26-March 28

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS:

                How do you feel when you think about “the end of the world.”? When you hear of disasters,

                wars, persecutions of Christians, and massacre of innocents, do you “link” them to the end”?

                How do the words of Jesus effect your views?

               

                How do you feel when you think about  the end of your own life? Are you afraid? In what ways

                do you have faith—trust, confidence—in God?

 

IMAGINATIVE CONTEMPLATION ON Mark 13:1-4: Imagine yourself with Jesus and the disciples, exiting the Temple complex,  journeying to the Mount of Olives, and then looking over the whole city of Jerusalem. What do you want to ask him about present and/or future events? What does Jesus say to you in reply?

REFLECTIVE MEDITATION ON Mark 13:5-23:  Read this text slowly and carefully, reflecting on how Jesus’ words contrast with much of the “apocalyptic hysteria” of our own times. How would Jesus want you to respond to people who interpret current events are foretelling the imminent end of the world?

REFLECTIVE MEDITATION ON  Mark 13:24-37: Jesus tells us to “watch” since we do not know the “day or hour”. What can you do already now to prepare, practically and spiritually, for your own death? What can you do to prepare for his second coming?

CENTERING PRAYER:   Using the final words of Jesus in this chapter, “Keep awake!” (13:35, 37), keep your attention focused on God. Remain keenly aware of God’s presence around you and within you.

Please feel free to call me if you need to 415-305-2124,  or email etc.  Take one or two and use and let God speak to you. River+

CONFERENCE 11—SHARING THE PASSION OF JESUS MARK 14-15-Wednesday March 28-Saturday, March 31

  1. Personal Reflection:
    1. Have you sometimes betrayed Jesus in some way, even if not quite like Judas?
    2. Have you sometimes denied knowing Jesus in some way, even if not quite like Peter?

 

  1. Imaginative Contemplation on Mark 14:3-9:

 

Imagine yourself present at the Anointing at Bethany. To which character are you most deeply drawn? How do you interact with Jesus? What do you do for him/or say to him? And how does he respond to you? How does his impending death affect you, deep inside?

 

  1. Imaginative Contemplation on Mark 14:55-65: Imagine yourself present with Jesus as he is being interrogated by the Sanhedrin. As you hear the false accusations made against Jesus how do you feel? When have you, like Jesus, been falsely accused by others?  How can Jesus share in these painful memories or current situations?

 

  1. Reflective Meditation on Mark 15:22-41: Reflect on Jesus’ crucifixion, his pain and suffering, his feeling that even God had forsaken him. How do you see your own life experience of deep pain and abandonment in light of his?  Can his response be yours? Can you pray using Psalm 22—all of it—as Jesus most likely did on the cross?

 

  1. Centering Prayer: Spend sometime quietly with Jesus, either before the tabernacle, or gazing upon the cross, or in a garden (as if outside his tomb). Simply allow yourself to be there.

 

 

CONFERENCE 12: ANNOUCING THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS—Mark 16-April 1-April 5

 

  1. Reflective Meditation on Mark 16:1-8: Reread the Empty tomb narrative  closely and carefully. Consider the meaning of the message transmitted by the heavenly messenger to the women. Reflect on the implications of how the women react. What does this imply about the Early Christians in Rome? What does it say to us today?

 

  1. Imaginative Contemplation on Mark 16:1-8: Imagine yourself going with Mary Magdalene and the other women to the tomb of Jesus that morning. When you find it empty, how do you react?: What do you say to each other? When you hear the words  of the “young man” outside the tomb, how do you respond? In fear and silence? Or do you share his message with others?

 

  1. Centering Prayer:  Using just the words “He has been raised” (16:6), focus on the presence of the risen Jesus among us, even in the dark, quiet spaces of apparent emptiness.

 

  1. Questions for Continued  Reflection after the Retreat?

 

What principal message have you heard during this week of retreat? Have you reacted with fear, or in trust? Will you share this message with others?

 

What signs of new life, undying hope, deepening faith do you find in yourself now? How have you grown in your faith, hope, love, and life during this retreat?

 

What does Mark’s Gospel—his portrayal of Jesus’ identity and ministry, and his teachings about Christian discipleship and mission teach you about?

 

        Yourself? Your family and friends? Your parish or religious community?

 

        Our culture and society? Our Church? Our world?

How and where, in each of these contexts, will you continue to discover the Jesus you have come to know better in Mark’s Gospel?

 

 

 

 

The Paschal Triduum-April 6-8

 

 

 

Triduum” means “three days”: Good Friday (which, according to liturgical customs begins at sundown with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday); Holy Saturday; and Easter Sunday. Those intimate with liturgical details will note that there are no ritual greetings for the services on Good Friday, Holy Saturday, or Easter Sunday. There are no formal dismissals, either, until the Vigil of Easter. These aren’t separate liturgies for distinct feasts; they are parts of one liturgy, one vigil, the “mother of all vigils,” during which the Church attempts to both commemorate and to participate in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, which is itself an inseparable mystery of faith.

If ever there is one, now is the acceptable time for Christians to cease business-as-usual (2 Corinthians 6:2). Think of it as a three-day Sabbath, during which unnecessary work halts and prayer – sometimes somber, sometimes reflective, sometimes exuberant – flourishes. It seems

to me that there ought to be time set aside for traditional practices such as egg-coloring, basket-making and decorating, planting potatoes, and – my family’s tradition for flying a kite.

Accordingly, to both allow myself some spiritual “breathing space” and to do some justice to the paschal mystery, I am not going to dice it up into separate little bits. It needs to be experienced and savored as a whole. Of course, the Triduum will have its flavors, moments, and afford particular insights, which I hope you will share with the rest of us. The fifty days of the Easter season will also provide ample opportunity to unpack this rich treasure chest of spiritual wisdom.

I especially suggest pulling a dusk-to-dawn “all-nighter” (i.e., vigiling) on Saturday, reading, pondering, and praying the nine readings and accompanying psalms selected for the Vigil of Easter. You might include other favorite readings, films, and poems.  

The scripture texts for the individual days/celebrations may be found online, as always, by clicking on the “USCCB Readings” link above.

Good Pasch!

 

THURSDAY–MAUNDY

Jeremiah 31:31-34

God has the capacity of remembering, and forgetting. How is this demonstrated to us?

Hebrews 10:16-25

Forgiveness is presented here as cleanliness. What images help you to grasp the concept of forgiveness?

Luke 22:7-20

What is the cup? What are we sharing?

 

Good Friday

Isaiah 52:13- 53:12

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” It is impossible to exclude ourselves from this picture. How would you describe the picture?

Hebrews 4:14-16 and Hebrews 5:7-9

What do you understand by Jesus’ obedience? How does the suffering expressed in your life help you to better understand obedience?

John 19:17-30

“Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews,” but “This man said I am King of the Jews.”‘ What is implied by Pilate’s inscription? How is that changed for us in the requested revision?.

 

 

Holy Saturday

Job 14:1-14

“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its roots grow in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant.” The cycle of nature is birthdeath – and re-birth. Philosophically, this was the observation of nature in Job’s day, while it was not real in the experience of men and women. In the midst of death we still find hope. How do we express that hope in our lives?

1 Peter 4:1-8

“For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.” What do you understand by this?

John 19:38-42

The Passover is the highlight of the religious commemoration for the Jew The Passover re-presents the deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. The joy of the event was lost on Joseph and Nicodemus on this occasion. Much as it is for us when someone close to us dies during a holy season. Try to grasp the poignancy of the event. Describe how you feel.

 

 

 

 

Reckless Love

March 25, 2012

Mark 12:31-44, Jn. 12:20-33

Tonight it is raining, wet, and I found much light and joy in spending time with the guys in the Haight and Polk, giving them blankets, food, socks, harm reduction supplies. I spent time with around 100 in six hours, I gave from what I had, and that is what Jesus asks of us, to give from what we have. we are called to “let go, reckless in love,, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Session 10 Bible Study on Mark

March 24, 2012

SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION—SESSION 10

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS:

                How do you feel when you think about “the end of the world.”? When you hear of disasters,

                wars, persecutions of Christians, and massacre of innocents, do you “link” them to the end”?

                How do the words of Jesus effect your views?

               

                How do you feel when you think about  the end of your own life? Are you afraid? In what ways

                do you have faith—trust, confidence—in God?

 

IMAGINATIVE CONTEMPLATION ON Mark 13:1-4: Imagine yourself with Jesus and the disciples, exiting the Temple complex,  journeying to the Mount of Olives, and then looking over the whole city of Jerusalem. What do you want to ask him about present and/or future events? What does Jesus say to you in reply?

REFLECTIVE MEDITATION ON Mark 13:5-23:  Read this text slowly and carefully, reflecting on how Jesus’ words contrast with much of the “apocalyptic hysteria” of our own times. How would Jesus want you to respond to people who interpret current events are foretelling the imminent end of the world?

REFLECTIVE MEDITATION ON  Mark 13:24-37: Jesus tells us to “watch” since we do not know the “day or hour”. What can you do already now to prepare, practically and spiritually, for your own death? What can you do to prepare for his second coming?

CENTERING PRAYER:   Using the final words of Jesus in this chapter, “Keep awake!” (13:35, 37), keep your attention focused on God. Remain keenly aware of God’s presence around you and within you.

Please feel free to call me if you need to 415-305-2124,  or email etc.  Take one or two and use and let God speak to you. River+

Struggling

March 24, 2012

Jn. 7:40-53; Mk. 12:28-34

In the reading in John we see people’s struggle to figure out who Jesus is. That is the continual struggle for Jesus escapes all catagories and definitions–he continually puzzles, challenges, strips us all out of our crude certainies. He calls us beyond ourselves, beyond everything we ever thought and imagined, and into new life–he calls us beyond our self-centeredness to be truly human in sharing, and serving our brothers and sisters–and it is not easy-to give up, to give of yourself, but oh how joyous it is! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Singlemindedness

March 23, 2012

Mark 11:1-10Jn. 7:1-30

The Palm Sunday story and the cursing of the fig tree, and the incident in the temple fit together. We all demand of Jesus to fix our problems, but the reality is we are called to save ourselves by trusting in Jesus, for he works through us.  Below is a letter I wrote to the Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle–:

Dear Editor:
 
This morning the paper was filled with articles on the building of higher rent apartments, some 2000 plus in the City; another article dealt with the rmodeling of Fisherman’s Wharf–but what I have noticed in recent times is there is very little about the poverty, the want, the need in San Francisco.  I work with street people and they have little opportunities for housing, jobs, drug treatment, and I see countless people on minimum wage needing food and housing.  Instead of talking about those needs you seem to simply ignore them, as well as does our Mayor, our Supervisors.  I asked one Supervisor to hang out with me on the streets, and she told me, “I visit the soup kitchens,” rather then get out there and see the reality of how people live daily.  This city is named after St. Francis, the Saint of the poor, and rather then demonize his name by romanticizing him, why not make him real by reaching out to those he cared about the most, hightlighting their needs, looking at ways to make life easier. 
 
These are simply my reflections this morning, I pray you will consider them.
 
Fr. River Damien Sims,
Temenos Catholic Worker
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
415-305-2124

Belief

March 22, 2012

Jn. 5:31-47, Mark 9-10

“Lie” is a word that use to mean love–Shakespeare used it, and it lives on in the word “believe”. When we say we “believe in Jesus,” we are saying we “love Jesus”.And for me that is what it is all about–loving Jesus. As I read through Mark 9-10 I laughed because the I see the same things night after night, we just use different terms–last night one person was screaming, and yelling, another staring out with a blank stare, others suffering, in their own way, but visibly–the demons of drug abuse, and poverty surround us, It challenges me to call attention, to speak up,and to continue to simply be a presence with food, socks,harm reduction supplies and my time. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!