“Love Abundantly”

Love Abundantly

Mark 10:17-31

17As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” 20He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

28Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

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-Br. Mark Brown

Martin Luther King once said, I am free, free at last,” This morning I woke up to having that feeling. It was great having Sr. Helen present. All in all between Golden Gate Park, St. Luke’s and St. Mary’s she has probably touched the lives of a thousand people–if you count numbers as success. I count as success the love she shared. But I am free to go back to my guys, where I am free. They yell at me, cuss me, hate me, throw things at me, and I shout back, but we love each other because we are all lost boys. But more importantly we know what is important–loving each other without the boundaries of the Church that limits, that impinges on caring.

This morning I woke up to an email from a person with whom I had had several “logical” discussions about homosexuality being an “intrinsic evil.” His email basically told me that because I do not believe that, and even though I am celibate–I still am “intrinsically evil,”  Well–I answered it with three words: “Go fuck yourself.”

I was raised, ordained in a church that still believes that homosexuality is  intrinsically evil.  I sat with a Roman priest last week who was crying because he had to uphold that doctrine with queer individuals  in his church. I hear people in the churches that live with that phrase suffer in pain.  That phrase continues to haunt me, it is a part of my psyche. At times it comes back to me with a vengeance.

  I celebrate  the Eucharist with my kids two times a week, I celebrate every morning, mostly alone. I feel uncomfortable in mainline churches. Here in San Francisco churches are accepting, but the reality is straight clergy have no idea, how much psychological damage has and is being done by the church. You can remove your restrictions and your doctrine but it takes years, and I mean years for the psychological damage to heal–that is a reality. Just to wipe the slate clean, does not make it clean. When people say to me “you seemed to have over come it,” the reality is I sometimes wonder  why I am still a priest, who works with churches–accept that I am a stubborn sob who when he is told he can not do something- finds a way around it. And the reality  is that my relationship with Christ  sustains me, that keeps me going–it is in that relationship that what I see in the Scripture this morning is Christ calling us to remove our blinders, open our eyes, and reach out in love with out limits accept that limit of “Love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus saved me from the Church and brought me back to the Church, though outside the gate. Dorothy Day once said that the Church is a prostitute, and at the same time  our holy mother–and she is, and I love the Church with all of my heart.

We can choose:


We always have a choice. The Lord Jesus is “courteous”, as Julian of Norwich put it. Christ abides within us, but does not force himself or his attributes upon us: we choose whether he may transform our lives. We choose whether to embody his attributes–or not.

We always have a choice-Love abundantly, with freedom–for ultimately that is all that we have–that is all that gives life meaning.

-Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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