Being Silent About Things that Matter

Being Silent About the Things That Matter!

.. I (John the Baptist)indeed have baptized you with water:but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” Mark 1:8

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

    Today has been full of riots, division, hate, pain, and death. This past year has been full of riots, division, hate, pain, and death–never seems to end. We are now living in a season of pain and death from a pandemic as well.

    John the Baptist tells people of the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. Jesus moves forward in preaching and teaching and chooses to go to his own death without lifting a finger to the mobs, and the hate. Failure?

    Jesus transformed the world with the crucifixion and the resurrection. The resurrection affirmed the way of non-violence.

    Jesus broke the silence about violence, he gave his life and calls us to do the same. To break our silence by transforming our way of relating to people based on cash, power, race, creed, religion, to one of love–working with each one to live fuller lives, giving of our time, money, and effort is the summons of not keeping silence.

   I was recently asked if looting and rioting were justified. I remember last fall during the looting in San Francisco, Walgreens, and other small businesses, being ripped apart, and not opening for days. The people who worked in those businesses suffered, many went hungry,  and so no, looting and rioting is wrong because it hurts people. Jesus tells us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

    During these years of ministry, violence has been directed towards us, and we have found by not returning violence that lives are changed, transformed. Violence begets violence.

    The change begins with each one of us, little by little, and as we protest violence, turn our hearts and minds to others, our political leaders will change, and society will change.

    People are suffering, dying in San Francisco, the Bay Area, California, across the nation and world, people are losing homes, going hungry, being alone without support, and keeping silent our lives begin to end psychologically. Thirty thousand more people have been inflicted with the virus today, people are in pain, physically and psychologically.

    Today I remember Ruth Burton, a long-time friend, a woman in her nineties who died; we met too many years ago to mention when I was skateboarding on the sidewalk and almost ran into her. She jokingly laughed and said, “the first time a priest has almost knocked me down,’ and we became friends. We ate together, laughed together, prayed together, and in times of being sick in bed saw to it that food was brought to me.

    During the riots of another time, Ruth once said: “People never change, until they see themselves as needing each other.”

    So tonight I celebrate Ruth as she has entered the Great Cloud of Witnesses; She continues to support and love. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    Let us not be silent and see ourselves as “needing each other.”


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

P.O.Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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