Our Innermost Prisons

August 29, “Our Innermost Prisons”  Mark 6:17-29

John was imprisoned, but he was freer than any one else because he speaks his mind and truth; when we look at the outward appearances of people we imprison our selves. Frankly in our self-imprisonment of knowing what is exactly right we smother ourselves.

For example I have received several negative comments about the photo I  placed on Facebook–my guy is not Christlike because he has a sign asking for money for beer, and he should not be asking for money for beer if he is broke and homeless.

First of all I know this guy, he is the kindest, most generous person I know, he is like the widow who gives her mite; he has walked with friends who are sick and dying; when I was sick he came to Polk from the Haight bringing me a vegan meal. He is the broken body of Christ and he lives out his faith in giving to others.

Frankly he is simply being honest, and who can deny someone a beer if they want a beer? Frankly I hate beer, but than I am the weird one. I am reminded of the story of Dorothy Day being given a large diamond ring, and a homeless woman came into her soup kitchen beaten up and Dorothy gave her the diamond because she felt she needed it to brighten her day.  Stupid! Depends on what perspective you look at it from.  After reading the replies my friend is going to get a beer tonight because I am going to buy him one.

But regardless I see Christ in the people who have tried to kill me, who have hurt me. I saw the face of Christ in the well dressed man who cussed me out when I as walking the Peace Vigil Against the Death Penalty on Wednesday. Christ is broken in all of us and we are called to love him. That is what is going on now around the homeless–people separate themselves from their humanity–and what happens we sit in judgment. And in that process we hurt others.

We judge in the most rigid ways. I laugh, in fact I enjoy it when people asked me if I am a priest because for example I was wearing a bright pair of Afghcan pants with my green clerical shirt the other day and the comments I received from the self-righteous, middle to upper middle class folk–“how can you be a real priest,” and I simply laughed for in their negativeness I saw humor and I saw a witness that I was giving about being clergy and being human.  We identify priests with wearing all black, we identify priests with simply working in a church. A friend of mind works in an environmental agency as a priest and people tell him all the time that he is not a “real” priest” because he does not work in a church.  

We limit ourselves by our quick judgments, we wall ourselves off from other people.  Let us be open, not be so fast to judge, and see Christ in all creatures.  Let us free ourselves from our inner prisons, let us be free to love, to give, to be open to others.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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