Then They Will Come For You!

When They Come for You!

First, they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the labor leaders, but I did not speak out because I was not a unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
As one day became another and others disappeared, gypsies, mentally retarded, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, criminals, anti-social, and emigrants, I remained silent because I was not one of them.
Then it was they came for me, but no one spoke for me because by then there was no one left to speak.
Martin Niemoller,1945.

    Last night going into Walgreen’s Sean, sat outside the door. He looks ancient, and he has always been a pest, always in my face begging for one thing or another. He looked so broken, no teeth, dirty, unshaven, hair long.

     I began to feel two strong emotions, and started crying: love, for at that moment I loved him and knew he could hound me all he wanted, for he did not deserve to be sitting out in the cold, in the air clouded by ash and smoke; and there were remorse and anger.

    Remorse, my own survivor’s guilt,  as I left the store, gave him some food, and went home to my nice warm place, with fresh flowers in the window, and anger as people walked by and did not even see him.

    I imagine that his life many years ago was similar to most of ours, he had parents, a home, and lived a good life, but then things turned sour, for the worse, similar to a pandemic. He lost his job, and then his place to live, and finally found himself living on the street. His friends turned their faces, for he was “homeless”, and now just a number, and a reminder of their possible future.

     We should never judge a person living on the street, for we never know how they arrived. Some may use drugs, but those drugs are very comforting when you live in a doorway, without a blanket, food, and so cold you shiver, and I mean shiver all night. In the same way, they comfort people who live in mansions, in their suffering.

    Jesus says in our Gospel today: “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying ‘Friend”, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? “Hypocrite! First, get rid of the long in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” How can we judge another when we have a “log” in our own eye?

Then it was they came for me, but no one spoke for me because by then there was no one left to speak.

    Speak to someone on the street today! Hand them some food! Six feet apart!

———————————

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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