Luke 11:15-26

There was article in the Chronicle in which a person described San Francisco as becoming a dysphoria, a place where there is a great division between rich and poor and  no middle class, and where people do not care for each other–they simply take care of themselves and their tribes. It is a deadly, boring, soul killing environment.

Last night a friend texted asking if it was appropriate for him to call me; when I was in the hospital a year ago, a clergy person texted me saying that was the way he was doing visitation to “save money and time.” I told my friend to call me any time, day or night, and my clergy friend is no longer a friend.  When we lose personal touch, when we are afraid to open ourselves to others, when we are too damn busy to talk to someone or to see them–than we are failing to bring the Kingdom of God into reality.

The Kingdom of God is now. The cross is both  perpendicular and diagonal.  Unless we care for each other, take care of each, other our relationship with God simply is dead. The reign of God is now–not in some distant future nor after death, it is now!

I was in Santa Rosa two days ago being present to people in a shelter, it was sobering, it was painful; I came home to two tents in front of my door. And it is sobering and painful–we all hurt, we all suffer, in one form or another. We suffer less, and we help others suffer less when we reach out and touch the lives of others.

Frankly there are days when I wonder why keep on living, why go on. I have thought of ways to end my life. There are days I think “Why keep on going?” It is painful, to see so much pain, to be so disconnected, and see that people do not give a damn. I sometimes simply take it one minute at at time. We have become so disconnected, we text, we email, but we never talk; we say the most horrible things on Facebook to each other, spreading gossip and rumors, and tearing down people for what they believe. Each day I wonder when someone is going to spread something about me.  There are no boundaries.  So why live in such a world, why live where you never feel safe, never feel connected? I hear that day in and day out from kids on the street, from homeless adults, from people who have money, and I feel the same way.

I have a friend who is a Senior in high school, and he invites me out to his house. We sit in his room, and watch T.V., and talk. Some times I say very little, and he wonders if I am having fun, and the truth is I feel so connected, like I belong, like I do not have to give anything. It is my most enjoyable time of the week.  I was out at his house last night, I was quiet, my day in Santa Rosa frankly was painful, and draining, and he asked me if  I was having fun. Matthew has no idea how much those three hours meant to me, the greatest gift any one can give is themselves. Matt is willing to put up with me, as we all should be willing to be put with another.

That is friendship, that is what we are called to be with each other. 

Henri Nouwen struggled all of his life, with deep depression and feeling alone, and he summarizes what is needed in our time:

“Compassion means to become

close to the one who suffers. But we can come close to another person

only when we are willing to become vulnerable ourselves.

A compassionate person says:

“I am your brother; I am your sister;

I am human, fragile, and mortal, just like you.

I am not scandalized by our tears,

nor afraid of your pain.

I too have wept, I too have felt pain.”

We can be with the other

only when the other ceases to be “other” and becomes like us.”

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164





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