Mark 3:20-35

There has been a video on Facebook of a really young boy, 10 or 11,  who supposedly was trying to break into  a car being confronted by a large man, who is scary even for me. The man is calling the police, who apparently never came, and the young boy is smarting off to him and pushes him the man knocks him down. The responses don not reflect the attitude of an enlightened society:

1. “Funny how River Sims is a big Catholic one of the cruelest of religions i;n the history of the world for centuries.”

River Sims follows Jesus of Nazareth the one who calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves and welcomes little children unto him, the  church is a human institution, created by humans.

2. “I would B slap the little kid”.

3. “River Sims take off the rose colored glasses, children like that grow into dangerous adults. I am going to guess that by the time he is 15 he will be in juvie.”

Youth, any of us, become who we see they are. Show love, equality, and see where that goes, it works.

4. “The kid was punching him first.”

5. “Amazing that some larger person let him get that far.”

Bishop William Alexander once commented:  “If you are truly catholic, as Christ himself is catholic then we must have a church broad enough to embrace within its communion every living creature.”

Jesus was called “mad” today because he called people to break out of their cultural labels and tribes.  The spirituality of Jesus embraces everyone in the spirit of love.

It is in that spirit that we should look at this young boy, and see him for who he is: first of all he is young boy, whose mind is not fully developed and will not be for many years, and sees the world from a black and white perspective and not seeing the wrong in what he is doing, but as something in which he is having fun. Youth often see things in the moment, and as a means of having fun, and  they have no conception of the consequences. Teenage drivers drive fast, they find so much fun in that–but no sense of the possible consequences, their minds are not there yet.

Secondly, for an adult to hit a young boy is abuse, regardless of the circumstances, pure, and unadulterated abuse.

Secondly, to push any one in a corner is setting yourself up for difficulty.  Friends do that to me and they find I become very difficult.

Thirdly, rather than meet the young man from your level of power, meet him on his own, talk to him, and in the calmness more will be accomplished. You will come to see exactly what he is a boy.

Fourthly, our remarks reflect our own inner turmoil, our own inner difficulties, when we point one finger we are pointing four at ourselves, we need to look at ourselves.

Fifthly our society has broken down in communication, we use Facebook and social media to express ourselves rather than talking to one another. Our youth have little contact on one on one any more, it is all social media, we need to have contact, to show love, to spend time with each other, provide care, compassion, and see the society that develops.

People tell us  that the internet shows our true nature, and that we will always respond with our animal instinct. But I believe that in living in Jesus of Nazareth our lives can be transformed into divine love. Yesterday was the
Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and to one of her titles I would add “Comforter to those who love until their heart breaks.”

The Velveteen Rabbit is a book about a stuffed rabbit who becomes real through being worn out by human suffering and care.  Let us seek to be the Velveteen Rabbit, let us wear our hearts our without judgment, walking with people where they are.

I  work with a young man.who was  16,  when he   committed murder. He  is now 33. One night he knocked me down in the a Park in while I was doing outreach, and several hours later murdered a gay man.  I advocated for him at his trial, and have worked with him through the years. It took him years to see what he has done was wrong, and part of that is that his mind was still developing, and of the abuse that he had been through as a young male. J has come to grasped the catastrophe of the murder, he is working through it, and is coming out a guy who has maturity. Nothing is black and white.

Maturity is looking at yourself, and coming to terms with your own wrongs, and seeking redemption. We all have that capability if we are given the grace to do it. Every one deserves a chance.

Let us look around us and hear Jesus say: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother,” and that is to “Love  your neighbor as yourself.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

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