Being Silent About Things that Matter

January 7, 2021

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


Epiphany and epiphanies

January 6, 2021

Epiphany and epiphanies

Matthew 2:1-12


    Epiphany with an upper-class E is the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the world–a Star, journey from the east, gifts, and a warning obeyed. But in this year, when the coronavirus snakes its way into our homes, our communities, our workplaces, and our parishes, my thoughts turn to lower-case epiphanies defined by Merriam-Webster as moments of sudden revelation, intuitive grasp of reality, a revealing scene or moment. All of us have experienced such.

    The red rose symbolizes such an epiphany. For years we have kept one on our desk to remind us of the blood of Jesus, the Crucified Jesus, and the healing power Jesus brought through his crucifixion.

    The red rose is a symbol of following Jesus in giving our lives away for others.

    What epiphanies have the frightening pandemic offered us?

Greater appreciation of friends and families with whom we are unable to gather in person;

Awakening to the beauties of creation-winter sunsets over the ocean, the beautiful design of trees, all that we more closely observe in our walks on the beach, the woods, the desert, and mountain trails;

Time to spend in prayer and meditation which may lead to insights in  how to follow Jesus and an awareness of the real first Christmas, not the sanitized version, Hallmark version, but the scriptural story of exclusion, odorous animals, dirty shepherds, bloody birth–made more glorious and challenging by God’s gift of Emmanuel;

An awareness of the pain and sacrifice of all first responders–store clerks, doctors, ministers, nurses, and all others who place their lives on the line for us. They expose themselves in service to us;

Perhaps we have a greater awareness of the hunger around us, 1 out of every 3 persons in the Bay Area goes hungry every night, and we find ways to help;

    And we all need to come to the realization that once we come out of the threat of this menacing pandemic, we must not try to return to “normal”.

    Normal was a country of severe economic inequality, racism is woven into the cultural and institutional fibers of our nation, homelessness, people without health care, people suffering from severe mental illness without support.

    Normal was corporate power in the hands of a few, high rent, and political indifference to “the cries of the poor”. It was the destruction of our ecology, in order to gain wealth and more.

    Once the biblical Magi realized that this star was different and unique, they acted; they set out on a journey that leads them to the true Epiphany, the Christ-Child, the rose who would shed his blood in service to humanity, in turn calling us to shed our blood in the way we live.

    May we act on pandemic epiphanies to assure that we do not return to “normal”. Warned in a dream the Magi returned home “by another way.”

    May we have a new heart to heed the warnings of a terrible virus in order to return to a post-pandemic life determined to follow the Rose in the giving of our lives to the creation of the life of “another way,” lighted by justice, peace, mercy, and compassion, for ALL. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr. Christian River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.’

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Know That You Will Be Welcomed!

January 5, 2021

Know that You are Welcome

“And Jesus when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were sheep not having a shepherd.” Mk. 6:34.

“Not being welcome is your greatest fear. It connects with your birth fear, your fear of not being welcome in this life, and your death fear, your fear of not being welcome in the life after this. It is the deep-seated fear that it would have been better if you had not lived.

Here you are facing the core of the spiritual battle. Are you going to give in to the forces of darkness that say you are not welcome in this life, or can you trust the voice of the One who came not to condemn you but to set you free from fear? You have to choose life. At every moment you have to decide to trust the voice that says, “I love you. I knit you together in your mother’s womb” (Psalms 139:13).

Everything Jesus is saying to you can be summarized in the words “Know that you are welcome.” Jesus offers you his own most intimate life with the Father. “

Fr. Henri Nouwen.

We all want to belong, to feel “welcomed”–we join our tribes, teams, and follow their rules, even when we hurt others. The reality is we will never feel completely welcomed. There is a longing within each of us for something more. That longing is being in a relationship with our Creator, who loves us, cares for us, and leads us into acts of compassion.

    I have struggled with feeling “unwelcomed” all my life, have sought fulfillment in receiving four degrees, saying the right words, being in the right places, being a prostitute, doing whatever my friends wanted,  but in the end, the feeling of loneliness overwhelms me. Everyone walks away–accept God.

    It is only, for me, in the words of Henri Nouwen:   to “decide to trust the voice that says, “I love you. I knit you together in your mother’s womb”. (Psalms 139:13), that I come home, am truly welcomed.

     It is in that trust that one can live in compassion without fear. In that trust one can cry, and hold the hand of a young man who is being forced to stay in a fleabag motel because his parents have coronavirus; it is in that trust that one can take groceries to his parents, feeling their pain and loving them; it is in that trust that one can look a young man breathing his last breath in the eye, and say to him, “All will be well;” it is in that trust one can love and forgive those who do violence; it is in that trust that leads into not fearing.

    And that trust is difficult, we have to work at it, every day. We have to work by holding the hand of God in service to others for it in each person we see the face of Christ.  We have to work at this trust by taking a deep breath, in pain and know that it is on the faith we take this journey, no black and white guarantees, and in that faith, we see the Light, we see the face of Jesus in glimpses and then in his full glory.     This journey is “working out our salvation”–and in our “working” we will find ourselves feeling welcome little by little, and each glimpse of that One in the faces of others suffering opens our eyes until in full brightness we behold our Father. “Thou shalt love the Lord that God with all thy mind, strength and soul, and thy neighbor as thyself.” All will be well!

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Journey on the Edge

January 3, 2021

Journey on the Edge

January 3, 2021—Feast of the Epiphanny

Gospel Mt 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod, 
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled, 
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, 
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, 
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly 
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said, 
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word, 
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, 
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, 
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures 
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, 
they departed for their country by another way.

    Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the revelation of Christ to the world, the revelation of the healer, and redeemer of the world.

    I am living a Journey on the Edge as I have always walked, but have never felt it like this before.

    I have held the hands of people who have died, the state is on complete lockdown, people close to me have the virus; I have listened to a number of people who question their faith, do not understand why God has let this happen, and am spending 10-15 hours a day sitting and listening to individuals with the disease or who are in danger. My head is spinning today.

    For years now I have looked the face of death in the face, stood with people suffering on the streets, and have come close to death myself. Death does not scare me.

    Like Paul, “Death where is thy sting, where is thy victory.” Death will come, it is in “working out my salvation,” in which I live, in order to hear the words: “Well done my good and faithful servant,” so I live, I have fun, I enjoy life to its fullest, even in the darkest of moments.

    I listen to people, they tell me their deepest secrets and fears. Nothing fazes me, there is no judgment brought.

    I am not brave, not a good counselor, but an awkward fool, who sometimes wonder if God was telling me to “Go plow corn,” rather than go preach the Gospel,” and from my personal experience there are a number of things I have learned:

    Jesus is real, a living being, who has suffered and still suffers with us. He has been my best friend, my brother when there is no one else; I am never alone.

    This pandemic is not “God’s will”, it is a result of our human errors. The truth is we have free will, and when I am told if there was a God, he would do something, well what I know we all want our freedom of choice, look at those who oppose the vaccine, and wearing masks–God would have an eternal rebellion on his hands. We were not created to be robots. We are created to have a choice, to choose to move to a relationship with God.

    In Jesus we are given a choice to love, to care, and now is a time in which we can share our lives, money, and love.

    To be open with people, to let them into our lives, where they can share anything without judgment is a way of healing the loneliness and heartache around us.

    The future comes in our actions and our prayers,  now and through us.

    Fr. Henri Nouwen offers what I have found is the only way of dealing with life, crisis, and facing death–for all of us are headed for death at some time or other:

“”In the biblical understanding, our heart is at the center of our being. It’s not a muscle, but a symbol for the very center of our being. Now the beautiful thing about the heart is that the heart is the place where we are most ourselves. It is the very core of our being, the spiritual center of our being. Solitude and silence, for instance, are ways to get to the heart, because the heart is the place where God speaks to us, where we hear the voice that calls us beloved. This is precisely the most intimate place. In the famous story, Elijah was standing in front of the cave. God was not in the storm, God was not in the fire and not in the earthquake, but God was in that soft little voice (see 1 Kings 19: 11–12). That soft little voice … speaks to the heart. Prayer and solitude are ways to listen to the voice that speaks to our heart, in the center of our being. One of the most amazing things is that if you enter deeper and deeper into that place, you not only meet God, but you meet the whole world there.” Henri Nouwen


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Finding Another Way!

January 2, 2021


Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker

January 2021

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 941`64



Happy New Year! Practice Compassion and Hospitality!

Finding Another Way!

Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord

Matthew2:1-12: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its risingand have come to do him homage. When King Herod heard this,he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”

    Herod is a powerful guy, a guy who is insecure, has low self-esteem, and terrified of losing his power. We know what is coming, the slaughter of babies and of John the Baptist. The perceptive Magi know what is coming as well,  and they “find another way”– not return to Herod. In looking at the past year, our own insecurities and fears, maybe it is time to “find another way” to return to living our lives, to return to God.

    Epiphanies are not easy. It can hurt to recognize the lie behind another’s words. Three years ago when my shoulder was injured and I was incapacitated, several friends never responded. Just four words: “How are you doing?” by text, email, social media, snap chat or phone would have helped. But nothing for weeks, and then a text after I had recovered, “You can always count on me!” LOL! The past had demonstrated these words were not true, and I could no longer trust this person, and so I had to move on and not depend on that person. Our friendship had to be renegotiated. 

    This individual betrayal, and the betrayal of our leaders, leading to violence, darkness, and pain remind us that our world is one of darkness and we need the light of Christ to guide us. When we let go of our neurosis, fear, and paranoia, he will show us another way.

    His way is that of compassion and hospitality. We can care for the person outside our door with a smile, a sandwich, a pair of socks; we can care for people by letting go of our political biases and  communicate with them simply as another a friend, we do not have to agree, just simply agree to disagree; we can simply show respect for one another regardless of economic status in life, race, creed, political belief, and age and so may you have a:

Happy New Year: Practice Compassion and Hospitality!

Deo Gratias! Thanks, be to God!


A Bag of Food:

    We will provide a bag of food to anyone in need, please call 415-305-2124 or email: or snap chat: riodamien 2.


    HOLY Communion:

    We provide Holy Communion to anyone and we use pre-packaged elements.


    We continue our ministry of presence on the streets; and our hospital ministry.


Thank you again for your support this past year; and for your financial giving.

A Journey of Joy

December 31, 2020

A Journey of Joy!

Philippians 2:12: “Wherefore, my beloved, you have always obeyed…work out  your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

     Several have asked why I have not put out a fundraising letter, and the answer to that question is found in Philippians 2:12. The fundraising comes in our witness. Each day we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling,” and in this past year, it has been one of joy. 

    We have learned two things: first is to be aware of our own weaknesses. I have tried my best to be as open and honest as I can. Personally, I know how difficult I am, I know I am a bumbling fool most of the time, but I persevere. And through that to encourage others to do the same. Through listening and being present to people we invite them to share their pain and fears. Understanding comes from our own pain and fears and being open about them.

    The second thing I have learned is perseverance. To do the work, to care for people, expecting nothing in return. To encourage others to do the same. To do so using what resources we have, and if people recognize our perseverance to choose to give.

    Personally, I am “working out my salvation with fear and trembling,” and hopefully by doing so others will join me on that journey.

    This past year, a very difficult and painful year has been a journey of joy. Joy in knowing  God’s presence, in every person we encounter, however, we are received.

    We invite people to join  us in recognizing our weaknesses, and persevere in “working out our salvation.”

    And so on this last day of the year, we invite you to give through your prayers, your care, and your money, if you so choose, but most importantly I personally want to assure you we care for you and respect you. Happy New Year!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164–our pay pal can be found here.

In the Beginning was the Word

December 31, 2020

In the Beginning, Was the Word!

John 1:1-18

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. .In him was life, and the life was the light of humanity. All light shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.. .And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory. .full of grace and truth.”


     Yesterday I was on a Zoom call with an older couple, and they talked of their kids, and of staying in for nearly a year, and not understanding how I could take the chances I do, “you are different.” They do not know some of the people that I do, there are a lot of “different” people in this world.

     I have heard that a lot, but that “difference” is what has set me apart in ministry, and it has taken me to places of grandeur, and sadness. I would not change a thing.

    I have “chosen the road less traveled,” out of following God. I am studied and read to the point of boredom and irritation of how individuals like myself, being disconnected from my dad at an early age, disconnected with my sexuality are doomed to a life of loneliness, isolation, etc, in a negative way. We try to put people into little boxes of understanding, and into tribes. I am not in either and have chosen not to be.

    There is another aspect to that as well, the spirituality, God’s way. And I know this is my call, that for which I was born, and find fulfillment.

    I hold the hands of people ill and dying, I have been stabbed, and shot at, being threatened. I walk with kids who to are told they are “different” and I share with them my story.

     I have thought a lot about how today I am well, tomorrow I may be ill and dying, and I know that all will be well.

    Fr. Henri Nouwen sums up how I approach my journey and teach others to do the same. There is nothing to fear.

“Remember you are held safe. You are loved. You are protected. You are in communion with God and with those whom God has sent you. What is of God will last. It belongs to eternal life. Choose it, and it will be yours. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
Fr. River Damien Sims,sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.
P.O. Box 542656
San Francisco, CA 94164

December 30, 2020

Seeing the Fire Beneath the Ashes–Hope

December 30, 2020

Feast of the Holy Family

Gospel LK 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. 
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. 
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. 
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth. 
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

    Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, we await it in hope. And as I read Anna’s story, I think of the years she waited, and how waiting is a ministry. I remember a friend  commenting with so much joy when  I was recovering from surgery that her church was praying for me, and I snapped in pain, “Prayer is only good through action.” I am so sorry for those words, I was ungracious, and a bastard to be honest. Their prayers lifted me up, their prayers were a sign of being remembered  with love. They were present with me.  So waiting is a ministry. For Anna waiting in prayer lead her to see the Christ. And for us, waiting in prayer leads us to Christ.

   My resolution this next year is simply to be a presence to people, to listen, to love, simply be a present.  This too is a form of waiting, we have no expectations, we listen, sit with each one and pray for the tree to sprout leaves of hope.

    I have given my life to knowing in the words of Danilo Dolci: “There is a fire in these people, like the fire beneath the ashes.”  I have given my life to that Fire, and see that fire in each one of you.

    So in wishing you a Happy New Year, my wish is for you to find hope in your waiting, knowing:

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ..For we know that the whole creation groanth and travailed in pain together. . For we are saved by hope.” Romans 18, 22-24


Thank you for your support in your prayers, and in your giving this past year. Each day you walk with me, and I feel nurtured and loved, so thank you. A friend has wondered how I have survived through the years without living in community—you are my community, the kids on the street are my  community, and my friends who I hang out with are my community. I have never been alone and have been blessed each day of my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my community.
Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Now: “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord lift is countenance upon you. And may the Lord give you peace.”

Fr. River Damien Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco CA 94164


A Tale of Two Cities

December 29, 2020

A Tale of Two Cities!

I John 2:7-12


    Fr. Henri Nouwen was a priest that I have the highest respect for. Through his writings, he shares with us his journey, openly, honestly, and painfully.

    Fr. Nouwen was raised in an upper-middle-class family, became a priest, and was gay. Being gay in the Roman Catholic Church and a priest “ain’t for pussy cats”. His was a constant struggle of reconciliation of his faith and sexuality and giving his life totally to Christ through celibacy.

      He was born and lived in the City of privilege, and of having his needs fulfilled.

 Nouwen’s life was the one given to him and is the tale of the City of the have’s. No idea of any other way of life.

    Recently there is a poem that illustrates how we live in the City of privilege, unknowingly not seeing the other City.

And the people stayed home.

And read books, and listened, and rested,

and exercised, and made art, and played games,

and learned new ways of being, and were still.

And listened more deeply.

Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.

Some met their shadows.

And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.

And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again,

they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images,

and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,

as they had been healed. Kitty O’Meara

    Nouwen in his brokenness came to see the other City of disability, brokenness and came to live and work with people of disabilities, finding wholeness. Henri joined the two Cities together.

    I have written, very crudely I might add, a poem of the second City of poverty.

     On the streets, people struggle to find food, a warm place to sleep, a bathroom.

The poor, the homeless, outside, in the cold,  on the street,  shivering in the cold, hounded by the noise of cars, people fighting, and partying, constantly being forced to move by the police.

They sleep covered by their dirty blankets or without blankets on the cold concrete.

They have learned to eat the scraps out of garbage cans, the second-hand donuts and sandwiches given to them.

People on the street lose faith in the promises of government, as they become ill mentally, physically, and descend into hopelessness.

Many drink, use drugs to cope with the harshness, pain, hopelessness, and lack of hope.

They are judged, ignored by the City of privilege.

And as the pandemic ends, people in the City of privilege will go on with their old life, while the City on the Street continues to deteriorate, and become more disenfranchised.

And God still reigns, grieving, yet holding out hope as She continues to work in the hearts of all little by little, transforming their hearts into loving without expecting anything in return.

    We can join the two Cities together by opening our hearts, our doors, and loving without expectation. And love hurts, but only through love can we have community and peace.

    Nouwen calls us to gain the heritage of our birth:

Born to Reconcile

If you dare to believe that you are beloved before you are born, you may suddenly realize that your life is very, very special. You become conscious that you were sent here just for a short time, for twenty, forty, or eighty years, to discover and believe that you are a beloved Child of God. The length of time doesn’t matter. You are sent into this world to believe in yourself as God‘s chosen one and then to help your brothers and sisters know that they are also Beloved Sons and Daughters of God who belong together. You’re sent into this world to be a people of reconciliation. You are sent to heal, to break down the walls between you and your neighbors, locally, nationally, and globally. Before all distinctions, the separations, and the walls built on foundations of fear, there was a unity in the mind and heart of God. Out of that unity, you are sent into this world for a little while to claim that you and every other human being belong to the same God of Love who lives from eternity to eternity.

    Little by little, one step at a time, tossing one starfish back into the ocean at a time.

“Wasn’t I
Real before?’ asked the little Rabbit.

“You were Real to the Boy,” the Fairy said,

“because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to everyone.” Margery Williams

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

The Feast of the Holy Innocents

December 28, 2020

Feast if the Holy Innocents

“And when they were departed, behold the angel of the Lord, appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt and be thou there until I bring thee word. .Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth and slew all the children that were Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under. . .”


     The past three days we have seen so many “holy innocents” on our streets, sleeping on the sidewalk, the hard concrete, wearing dirty clothes, and no place to take a bath. They sit alone, many in fear of the strangeness that now engulfs all of us. Food, clothing, and support are difficult to find;. there are many who are child trafficked, with San Francisco, being one of the major cities for this activity;  each year young boys and girls simply disappear, assumed they are running away, never to be seen again, when they have been picked up to be sold across the world as prostitutes; so many others cast aside because they do not meet the criteria for professional support,  too difficult to work with–all “holy innocents”.

    And then across the world, millions are destroyed and harmed because of our national policies and lack of humanity–all “holy innocents.”

    We walk by them on the street, we turn our heads away, we read articles in the newspaper as simply statistics, we fail to hear their cries and say, “let the institutions do it.” We also tell ourselves, “human beings, they never change, so why even do anything.” Apathy leads to the death of the soul.

    We are all responsible. On my desk, there sits a starfish, picked up on the beach, and it is a reminder that as we walk the beach of the world, our responsibility is simply to pick up one at a time that has washed ashore and throw her back in.

    The one fact of life learned through the years, is that Christ comes to each of us, as we see his broken, face in front of us. And in throwing one starfish at a time back into the ocean, we save him, his broken body, and our lives take on meaning, purpose, and love for humanity. Christ is present and becomes so real, even in the most painful experiences.  Don’t think about it–do it, and do it in all of your love! Give your life away! And you will gain eternity!

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164