Archive for January, 2016

Following Christ

January 8, 2016

January 8, 2016  “To Choose Life” Friday after Epiphany Luke. 5:12-16

During this Epiphany Season we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus.  We are forever changed when we encounter Jesus. People often asked me how I decided to become a priest.  All I know is that at 12 years old I had the this heart warming experience at summer camp and I experienced Christ, experienced him like John Wesley described as a “warming of the heart,” and that experienced has shaped and directed my life since then.  I have never known anything else, any other desire–simply to follow Christ in ministry.  The Church has always simply been a tool for that call.  That is why her rejection in one form or another  has lead to0 another form, I have never been tied down to the “tribe.”  For when human beings have told me “no”, God always says “yes” in another form.  Being a priest is not about a “job” or “making a living”, it is about following the Life, it is who I am.  Each day as I lift the bread and the Cup, each person I anoint and pray with, each funeral, baptism, and wedding–all are out of my life giving experience with Christ. That is why I have never sought out a partner, my relationship has been with Christ. It took me a long time to understand that, but my life since I was 12 has been directed towards him.

Someone recently asked me “What makes you tick?” “What makes you go on when you are sick and threatened?”  And it is following Jesus, and I will follow him into eternity. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“You Do It. Fix Supper for Them.”

January 5, 2016

St, Genevieve Torres Morrales “You Do It. Fix Supper for Them.” Mark. 6:24-34

Second Day of Fast of Witness Against Torture

This morning I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed, on a rainy, cold morning, complaining to myself that I “have” to go fix a meal and go out on the streets.  I am giving myself all kinds of excuses–I have a raw throat, my leg is hurting like hell, and as I cross the street to eat, a homeless guy I have known for years asked me to buy him something to eat. He has schizophrenia and he was talking to himself. I thought, “Oh God I just want to read the paper, eat and be alone,” and so he sit down with me and ordered two meals. I was my charming self, barely, but in thinking about our text this morning I kept hearing the words of Jesus: “You do it. Fix supper for them.” My troubles vanished, for I have it easy, very easy.  We as human beings are called to take care of each other, regardless of our social, economic, racial, gender and sexual orientation back grounds.  It starts simply with each of us. Take our heads out of the clouds, stop thinking about ourselves so much—and take care of our neighbor.

Dr. Will Tuttle says: “The lesson is plain: when we harden ourselves to the suffering we inflict on animals in our own interest, and justify it by proclaiming our superiority or specialness, it is but a short and unavoidable step to justifying and inflicting the same kind of suffering on other humans in our own interest while likewise proclaiming our supremacy or specialness. “

As we can harden our hearts in inflicting pain on animals, so we can harden our hearts in inflicting pain on people who are different than we are–race, creed, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and more pointedly we can harden our hearts against the homeless.  Let us take responsibility for each other.  Let us hear the words of Jesus: “You do it. Fix supper for them.” Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

Temenos Catholic Worker

Fr. River Damien Sims, Director/Pastor

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


God Manifested In All Living Creatures

January 3, 2016

“God Manifested In All Living Creatures Matt. 2:12 The Epiphany

Terry Tempest Williams wrote:  “The eye of the cormorant is emerald. The eye of the eagle is amber.  The eye of the grebe is ruby.  The eye of the ibis is sapphire.  Four gemstones mirror in the minds of birds, birds who meditate between heaven and earth.  We miss the eyes of the birds, focusing only on the feathers.”

Dr. Will Tuttle writes:

“The lesson is plain: when we harden ourselves to the suffering we inflict on animals in our own interest, and justify it by proclaiming our superiority or specialness, it is but a short and unavoidable step to justifying and inflicting the same kind of suffering on other humans in our own interest while likewise proclaiming our supremacy or specialness.”

Recently I cleaned an  abscess that a young guy had, and someone asked me if it made me sick to do that–and many years ago it would have, but now I saw in him Jesus.  When I sit with people who have murdered people, harmed people in terrible ways–I see Christ. I look beyond the “feathers”.

When we begin looking into the eyes of all creatures we see God. We see beyond the feathers and see a living wounded creature in all of its beauty.  So this Epiphany let us look beyond the feathers and see the human being and walk with them in their pain, and we might be a little surprised, our pain will lesson as well. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Temenos Catholic Worker

Fr. River Damien Sims

P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164

Who Are You? What Do You Have to Say for Yourself?

January 2, 2016

“Who Are You? What Do You Have to Say for Yourself?”

John 1:19-28

The two questions above are the questions that were asked of John the Baptist, and are asked of all who give their lives to Christ.

This year I was given a new tattoo by a friend. I chose one of Juniper Sierra.  I chose it because he is an example of the mixture in all of us. He responded to his call from God out of the his culture and is time.

The same can be said about Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, and any one who gives their lives in service, they test the limits of traditional boundaries and from that testing new ways of sharing the Gospel come forth.

I have always tested boundaries, and I find that in testing them, that I live on the edge.  The Scripture has been the guide, the foundation, I have followed in testing boundaries. For the Scripture is the living, breathing, ever changing Word of God, with Jesus at its Center, who never changes.  The Bible is the story of God working with humanity, and not much has changed–our weapons can destroy the world, theirs could not–and through out the story we see God moving, and ultimately manifesting himself supremely in Christ demonstrating that to love God and our neighbor were at the heart of God’s message.  We are called to love our neighbor without binders, without judgment.

Yesterday I fed a hundred young adults, and spent hours listening to various people on Haight Street. Christmas and New Years have not been a celebration for them–one shared of shivering in the rest room of a hotel, one talked of the only food he had to eat was what we served, one we took to the hospital with an abscess, and he had to wait eight hours, and so on. And this is but a fraction, a very small fraction of the people on the street in one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

I find people who simply turn their heads away because it is too much, to difficult to see; some blame this on too many causes requesting help. Others blame it on “Santa Classification”, portraying people who help others as saints. We hide the humanity of people and than when their flaws service turn on them. That has happened to Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Juniper Serra  and it has happened to me.    The problem is we see loving others as something that other people do.

For me I am simply trying to “work out my salvation with fear and trembling;” for as William Stringfellow says:

“Holiness is not an attainment, in any sense of the term, but is a gift of the Word of God.  Holiness is not a bridge of  achievement for a saint, but is wrought in the life, the very being, of an ordinary person by the will of the Word of God. Holiness–is the restoration of integrity and wholeness to a person.”

Rather than look for perfection in people, to fit into what we perceive as the right way, let us look at ourselves, and do one single act of kindness a day to someone outside of our tribe–some one of a different race, creed, sexual orientation–feed the person at your door step,  at the bus stop, on the corner. One step, at a time without expectation.  Our fullness and wholeness in our humanity come as we face the pain and suffering we see and work at relieving that pain and suffering. Simply being with someone is enough. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

As we remove the violence from our daily meals, we will naturally increase our ability to heal our divisions, nurture our creativity and joy, restore beauty and gentleness, and be role models of sensitivity and compassion for our children. Dr. Will Tuttle

Keeping the Faith

January 1, 2016

“Keeping the Faith”

As we enter the New Year I am posting the “Goals” I try to live by every day. As I look back I understand that because of my lack of clarity, and my own fears of losing relationships, that I have  failed to live them out, and relationships get muddy, very muddy. With  street youth it is never muddy because I am not afraid to be open and to  share my feelings  with them;  with others, many have no idea of how I live my life, it is foreign to them, they are donors, and so I walk a tight rope, But this year I am going to be free and open. The reality is that we are all children of God, and we are all equal–for ultimately when we die, our titles, and money go away. They are:

1.  “Do not grow old, no matter how long you live.  Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we were born.” Albert Einstein.   We are all children, when we lose that wonderment we stop growing. Personally I do not think in terms of age,  or  social position. I believe we live life until we move into the next, and so I never share my age, and never asked ages.Age labels, and labels are deadly in working with people for they stereotype.

2.  Keep It In Your Pant–  Never look at my cell phone when I am talking or having a meal with another person.  The only person we should be concerned with is the person before us.

3.  Never complain

4. Stay with  Small talk.  Never label people by job,  a psychiatric diagnosis , race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. Labeling people keeps us from communicating, it gives us control, it separates us. Do not talk politics. Politics can be the most divisive form of conversation, and so I will not discuss politics.   Do not engage in the discussion of homelessness. I spend all of my life emerged in homelessness, and I frankly do not want to discuss in a sterile fashion homelessness. Homelessness for me is about relationships, it is not a problem to be dealt with. And it is my life, so when I am with friends, I want to be away from it.

5. Remove my hat and sun glasses whenever I am indoors.

6.  Never say anything on line I will not say to any one’s face.

7. Never use text or email to discuss a problem–face to face or on the phone. 

8. Complete my Doctor of Ministry Degree.


The Goals of Temenos Catholic Worker for 2016

1,  Tenderloin Good Friday Service: This year we will have four “housed” people participating and have those without housing doing the remainder of the parts.

2.  Philip Workman Service–Will be Monday October 10, 2016

3.  Homeless Vigil on the 1st and Third Wednesday of Each Month.

4.  Anti-Death Penalty Vigil Second and Third Wednesday of Each Month.



We are a 501 c3 Non-Profit organization.  We work with youth, and there are pre-school children in the Church were we cook. So any volunteer must have a back ground check at their expense. Because we work on the streets it has been difficult for people to understand the need for these checks,  but the reality is that the streets are not the “Wild West”, and the most vulnerable youth are street youth.


And so in 2016 I will continue “work out my salvation with fear and trembling,” Philippians 2:12, and “to press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 3: 14).

May God the Creator, Christ the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit bless you in the coming year and in the life to come. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!