Taking Up the Cross


Luke 9:22-25

Next weekend we are picking up Akihiro. My adult friends, have raised the questions: “He will change your life, and take a lot of your time, what happens to him if someone kills you, what are you going to do when you travel, and so on, you better rethink this.”

Every young person that I hang out with, especially my street kids who have dogs, tell me what a great idea, how it will make life less lonely, and accepted it makes one feel.

For me what having Akihiro means is to have someone who will love me without question, who will respond to my love, and love me in return. He will exemplify to me what it means to take up the cross. For taking up the cross is to give of our love to others, without question.

“Deny yourself and take up the cross daily,” Jesus tell us. What is the cross but ourselves, our egos, the pains in our bodies, our awkwardness, our mistakes. To follow¬† is to move beyond ego trips. It means coping with the business of life without trampling on others or making them suffer. To deny ourselves means reaching a point where ourselves are no longer the most important thing in the world–to be happy to listen; to accept without resentment the diminishments that come through time or circumstances; and to see God’s hand in both the bright and dark spots.

I sat for four hours last night listening to a nineteen year old talk about wanting to kill himself because he had no hope. Simply listening he left with the strength to go on. Jamie looked into my eyes and said you think of suicide a lot to and I said, “Everyday,” but my hope is that good comes from the darkness. I had another young friend of mine really sad yesterday because a friend told on another friend who is an exchange student and she is being sent home. He said, “people are snakes.” And I told him we are all snakes, but when the cross is lifted with the snake on it we become creatures who love without question, and see the goodness in all.

We find hope, we find meaning, when we listen to people, simply listen, when we feed people, just give a sandwich or take someone who is lonely, homeless out to eat; provide a tent or sleeping bag, or simply just listen. I had a reporter question what I was doing to help–my answer is I listen, and listen, people find love, they find hope.

I have friends who prefers texting and snap chatting and I am always concerned I am saying the wrong thing, getting my words right etc, because my life is listening. I love them , so I will keep on striving, working at it, but what is the most important thing is in relationship face to face and listening. Our streets are full of suffering and I believe if we moved out of our little worlds–and listen–there will be far less, for all of us. Take up your cross, move out of your ego, and listen. Be present to people. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


punkpriest1 @gmail.com

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