Archive for August, 2022

Walk With Me!

August 29, 2022

Peniel: Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker

September 2022

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Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

“Walk With Me!”

Dreaming last night, I found myself walking down the sidewalk feeling very blue and much alone. Within seconds, I found myself falling to the pavement.

Suddenly, looking up there was a young Asian boy,  appearing to be a street person in rags, smiling, holding his hand for me to hold. He lifted me up, by my arm saying “Walk with me!”

We continued down the street, and he mentioned how he had been beaten up and called all kinds of names because he was homeless and Asian, I cried, and with deep love in his eyes said: “Walk with me!”

Passing a doorway spying an elderly man uncovered, I leaned down and pulled the blanket over his shoulders, and the young man smiled, placing his hand on my shoulder, with the words:  “Walk with me!

When we came to the door of Toast restaurant, an elderly man was standing with a bunch of wilted flowers, saying, “My wife has cancer, please buy these flowers to help her.” I handed him two dollars, and the young Asian boy vanished, and my heart was strangely warmed, and hearing the words, “Walk with me! seeing in the gentleman the broken body of Christ. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Restorative Justice 2022 Reentry Conference:

Friday, September 9, 2022

8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

1111 Gough Street in San Francisco

St. Mary’s Cathedral Event Center

A Conference on Discussing and Having Opportunities for Former Prisoners to Reenter Society!

Come! Listen! and visit the Temenos Booth!

We Need Volunteers!

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New Area of Street Outreach!

This year we ended our Good Friday Service at United Nations Plaza. There were a hundred or more homeless individuals sitting on the edge of the Plaza.

We have added this area to our outreach schedule each week.  Our socks, food, and presence are most welcome. You are welcome to come and join us!

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Christmas, 2022:

Gifts of shirts, socks, underwear, and jeans are most welcome! Call and we can pick them up!

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We Are Beggars: Our funds are low, and as we enter the Fall our needs will pick up so please give as your heart leads you through our website: http://www.temenos.org, pay pal, or mail, P.O. Box 642656, San Francisco, CA 94164. Thankk you for all your support!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

The Jerod’s of San Francisco–On And In our Hearts!

August 19, 2022

The Jerod’s of San Francisco–On and In Our Hearts!

Matthew 22:1-14

There are times I am sitting at lunch with friends who live in Marin, Sausilito, Pacific Heights, and other wealthy areas, and the question will be asked: “River, what can you tell us about the homeless problem, what is going to be done about it?”

After seeing my face, the subject is quickly changed, for I hate the question, a question with no answers, and a question that brings up much personal pain seeing the faces of so many who live and die on the street.

In those moments my thoughts go to Jerod, whom I met when he was 14. He came from a good family in Sausilito. Jerod had a troubled adolescence, and could not get along with his stepdad,  he ran away. I met him on Polk, where he was prostituting, he was into speed.

Over the next three years we became friends, he went home a couple of times, but always came back to the streets, and I became acquainted with his parents.

One rainy night he called, asking for a place to stay, and I told him yes, I waited and waited, but he never showed. I received a postcard from Paris, telling me how much fun he had days later. His parents looked for him until a number of years later they had to move, to get away from the memories, the fear, and the pain.

In all probability he was trafficked, simply picked up and taken away. Boys are trafficked just as much as girls, but it is hard for parents and others to face the fact boys are used in such a way.

I see many other young boys become forty-year-olds panhandling and sleeping in our alleys. So the only solution I know is to love each one, to let them enter into my heart,  to suffer with each one, to pour out my own blood if necessary, for each is the broken body of Christ. To give without expecting anything in return.

As Dorothy Day once commented: “The only solution is love!” This is my solution! Get dressed for the Wedding Banquet! Let Christ clothe you with the joy of compassion.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Mary Mother of Mercy!

August 15, 2022

Mary Mother of Mercy!

The Assumption of Mary!

August 15, 2022

Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab; Luke 1:39-56

The artist chosen for this work of Mary was Janet McKenzie. 

Janet provides the following reflection on her painting of Mary, Mother of Mercy:

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“Beloved mother Mary protectively and lovingly holds humanity within her mantle. As she loved Jesus so she loves each one of us.

Three racially diverse subjects serve as the inspiration for the figure of Mary thereby contributing to a genuinely inclusive and invitational interpretation. The Blessed Mother does not tower over the people within her mantle rather she is a similar size, familiar and relatable. Mary the unifying force, rises up with outstretched arms holding us within her love, her hands gripping her mantle with strength.

The inclusive subjects within Mary’s mantle, archetypes symbolizing a small portion of the human race, honor diversity. . . .”

The Dish Washer’s Son, Some Border’s You never Cross, by Mike J. Quinn is a book about Frank, whose mom was married to an undocumented immigrant, his father. He simply disappeared one day. Frank did not have a birth certificate being born at home.

At 17 Frank hangs out with the “vigilantes” to chase down undocumented individuals in the desert. In a raid on the Taco Bell where he worked, he was picked up by the authorities and sent to Mexico, where he did not even know the language. In the process, he met his dad’s family, where he discovered he died trying to return to the United States. Frank came to appreciate his heritage. He henceforth proudly described himself as Mexican American.

This book goes into the shades of crossing the border, the dangers, and the treatment of immigrants by the border patrol.

My heart remembers fifteen-year-old Diego, who was an illegal immigrant. He came to the United States to make money for his family, working as a sex worker.

Diego was kind, sweet, and caring. He loved his family with all of his heart. In the two years he was here he became HIV positive, developing into AIDS, and one night a “john’ called the police, and Diego was deported. Two years later a letter arrived from his mother telling me he had died.

On this “Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary” let us remember  “Mary, the Mother of Mercy”, whose hands reach out to all.

Mary, the Mother of Mercy, raises the questions about immigration, and asks: “Why do we need borders?” for we are all of the same family?  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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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

Faith

August 14, 2022

Faith

The writer to the Hebrews writes:

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.  It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguishes our ancestors, set them above the crowd.(11:1-3).

During the past years of the pandemic, I have been asked many times about faith as I have been holding the hands of injured and dying. I have questioned and continue to question my belief in the midst of the desolation around me on the streets, the continued attacks on faith on social media, and everywhere one turns.

I have remembered these years is in spite of my degrees, and ordination, I am simply a Grocer’s Son. My dad owned a grocery store, as did his before him. And I remember him as a man of strong faith, with which he lived and died. A simple faith, a childlike faith, which he bequeathed to his son.

My dad’s love of Jesus gave him a heart of compassion. No one ever came to our store, or house and went away without food or clothes.

From him, I learned the words of Henri Nouwen in practice:

“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, mourn with those who are lonely, and weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”

My dad taught me that nothing human is alien, as described by Fr. Henri Nouwen:

“Through compassion, it is possible to recognize that craving for love that people feel resides also in our own hearts., that the cruelty that the world knows all too well is also rooted in our own impulses. Through compassion, we also sense our hope for forgiveness in our friends’ eyes and our hatred in their bitter mouths. When they kill, we know that we could have done it; when they give life, we know that we can do the same. For a compassionate man or woman nothing human is alien; no joy and no sorrow, no way of living and no way of dying.”

This came from my dad’s strong faith, which he shared with me. I was raised in the church, remembering at four years old being taken to the communion rail to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion and told, “This Sacrament is for everyone, regardless of age, color, or belief.” I have never refused anyone Holy Communion.

I met the presence of the real Jesus of Nazareth and was called to ministry, through my dad’s faith.

His faith sustained him through lung cancer, and at his death, remembered telling others “My dad taught me by example to open my heart to love everyone, and meet them with an open heart, regardless of the pain. For each is a child of God.”

We all want to believe, to be loved, we join groups, spend hours on social media, and follow leaders when what we are seeking is to experience God’s love in all of the wholeness Christ gives.

Marianne Williams comments: All human behavior is love or is a call for love.”  Every aspect of our behavior is a desire for love.

My challenge to all of us is to look at our behavior and ask ourselves the question, “Aren’t we really looking for love?” And if we give care to one another daily, what would our world look like? If we call someone? If we invite someone to dinner? A young twenty-two-year-old college student told me, “I am going to be selfish until I make big money and then give it to the poor?” If we simply feed someone, or talk to a person, it will amount to a great flower of giving.

For me, the answer is in Jesus of Nazareth, the one who challenges me every day to feed the hungry, and care for each person I come in contact with. To open my heart, and be hurt. I am only a “Grocers Son”, a grocer show shared his love of people each and every day! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.com.

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Jeffrey and Sallie Piel have  given a gift: “In honor of my grandmother Marie Mills, August 1891-August, 1969.

Book Review

August 7, 2022

Book Report and Reflections

on

Why Do Nations Rage?

The Demonic Origins of Nationalism

 by

David A. Ritchie

Feast of the Transfiguration

Luke 9:28–36


English Standard Version

The Transfiguration

28 dNow about eight days after these sayings he took with him ePeter and John and James and fwent up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was galtered, and hhis clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure,2 which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him iwere heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake jthey saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three ktents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—lnot knowing what he said. 34 As he was saying these things, ma cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And ma voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, nmy Chosen One;3 olisten to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. pAnd they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

On the 77th anniversary of atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Carl Jung put it this way:

“Humanity is involved in a new responsibility. He can no longer wriggle out of it on the plea of his littleness and nothingness, for the dark God has slipped the atom bomb and chemical weapons into his hands and given him the power to empty out the apocalyptic vials of wrath on his fellow creatures. Since he has been granted an almost godlike power, he can no longer remain blind and unconscious. He must know something of God’s nature and of metaphysical processes if he is to understand himself…and the divine. “

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Today on the Feast of Transfiguration we celebrate Jesus being transfigured with the power of God surrounding him, and his three disciples Peter, James, and John present. And then calling them to go back down the mountain into the reality of life. A reality of violence, that will lead to the crucifixion of Jesus, and their brutal experiences to come.

Today the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, killing countless civilians. It was an example of a demonic presence in the world.

David Ritchie takes us through the Bible showing the presence of the demonic in the history of Israel, but more particularly humanity.

Nationalism, as seen most explicitly on January 6, 2021, is demonic for it separates and flames the fire of racism and disunity of all people. It was violent and hurts others. Jesus tells us to love God,  and our neighbor.

Anthony D. Smith has observed that the notion of sacred nationalism furnishes:

    a. a belief in an ethnic election,

    b. an attachment to a sacred territory,            sanctified by the saints, heroes, and     sages.

    c. shared memories of a golden age.

    d. and the cult of the “glorious dead” and

    their self-sacrifice.

The author concludes with a framework for confronting nationalism as a false gospel in I Timothy 4:1-2:

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the words, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching (I Timothy 4:1-2).

The Gospel of Jesus is summed up in his great commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord your God, with all of your mind strength and soul, and thy neighbor as thyself.

We can love each other, and not like another, and we love by treating all people with respect, without discrimination because of race, creed, or money. We take care of each other. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org