Merry Christmas! Christmas Note from Temenos Catholic Worker

On my top bunk my friend Kale is asleep, after along night at a  club. We have been friends since he was fifteen. He sees me simply as his friend, and the “strange” kids that are always knocking on my door are alien to him; He is from  Sebastopal and an upper middle class family, and I am simply his friend. The world around me is alien to him. Tonight I am going to the  rapper Berner’s concert, and when I was excitedly talking to someone in a restaurant yesterday about going, a person said to me, “You are not black, why do you like that kind of music?” Tomorrow night I will celebrate the Eucharist late at night in the Haight, after giving out  gifts and Christmas dinner, and people will be walking around not seeing one of the Haight Street kids. I go back and forth to Marin to hang out with friends all the time, and our conversations are never about homelessness.
We are so separated by our money, race, politics, and our fear of each other. It is a whole different world across the bridge. It is a whole different world  north of me on Polk Street, and out side of the Tenderloin. On the Haight people never see the pain and poverty.
  I move in these different worlds and frankly sometimes I screw up and bring part of one with me.
 
And so we come to Christmas and we stand in awe  at this self-giving God. But there is more to the awe.  There is also a mandate: This God who loves us so, summons us to evoke the same love to every one.  We are called to “love one another.” We are summoned to love our neighbor as ourselves, and our neighbor being everyone around us, not just those of our same culture, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, and those in the area of where we live. Eventually we are summoned to love our enemies. Such responding love is the way in which we live out our awe. It is very painful, to come out of our safety zones; it is painful to walk in areas of poverty and ways of living we do not know nor understand. This love calls us into the dark places of life, into the jungles of our streets, and the jungles of our lives.  This love does not participate in the romantic familial love of conventional Christmas.  It is rather love that calls us into the dark places, there to live with the power of transformation that comes we live the questions in the name of Jesus.  For that reason we sing “Love so amazing so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”
 
Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
 
Have a glorious Christmas and Happy New Year!
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