Give Me the Best Seat!

Give Me the Best Seat!

Feast of St. James

Matthew 20:20-28

When I read this Scripture I think of me when I was young and heard that still small voice, to follow Jesus. I dreamed of large pulpits and nice houses–well I was fooled, and for the better.  For in following Christ in these years I have found an abundant life.

Two events run through my mind on the eve of the executions of Ronald R. Philips of Ohio and Taichin Preyor in Texas.

First is the time I held a knife to the throat of a man who raped me when I was on the streets; and the second was in  giving the Sacrament of Reconciliation to the man who murdered my son. In both instances I knew that life was sacred, and that both lives were of value to God, and it was not my right to desire for them to be taken, and in both instances as I let go of my desire for revenge, my life was filled with grace, and I saw a light that sees life as sacred. While these may be words of grace, the pain that this takes to move into these feelings is unimaginable.  But in letting go of that desire for revenge–we are saved in all aspects of our lives. Justice always deserves mercy.

So tomorrow I will Vigil in front of  the Earl Warren Office Building at Noon, remembering that life is sacred, that even the desire for vengeance brings death in other forms.

I will also  remember, Sean, who is 22, paranoid schizophrenic, whom I spent time with last night, no access to housing or medicine, and how I spent yesterday afternoon at Kaiser having a physical, and of the medicine that has saved my life through the years. And allow the  guilt that I feel to be channeled into continuing to protest his right for the same health care that I have been so privileged to have due to the generosity of donors.

We are all sinners, we are all guilty, and it is only through the grace of God that we are saved, and salvation comes as we work out that salvation to bring life to others.

+Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Franciscans Against the Death Penalty

Temenos Catholic Worker

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