Christ Has Set Us Free!

 

Reflections for Sunday, Pride Sunday, July 30, 2019

Christ Has Set Us Free And Gives Us Courage for the Journey!

“For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm, therefore and do not submit to the yoke of slavery. . Only do not use your freedom for an opportunity of fulfilling your own desires, but through love serve one another, for the whole law is summed up one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:1; 13-14.

“Caring is the first way to our own aging  self, where we can find the healing powers for all those who share in the human condition. No guest will ever feel welcome when the host is not at home in his own house.. .”

 

On September 11, 2011, the World Trade Center  was bombed, and the first civilian casualty identified was Father Mychal Judge, a sixty eight year old gay Franciscan priest who entered the building the help victims.  The Apostle Paul reminds us that this act was not a yoke of slavery, but a freeing power of the Spirit, which enables  each of us to love even the neighbor whose hatred tries to block the spread of the good news. Father Judge ministered to people of all faiths, nationalities, on that day and throughout his ministry.

Yesterday a lady of 85 stopped by, and asked me about the Accessibility Area at Pride, and reflected sadly how she felt left out, because of all the young people dancing and partying–“no room for us  old people”, she said. I simply asked: “Tell me why do you think they can be there as free as they are?,’ and I continued, “because you and your brothers and sisters in the past sixty or so years have lifted the torch of freedom, and you bear on your body physical scars from that fight  The torch is being passed, but you are still a light that shines as you sit in our area as one who gave her  all.”

I am reminded of Fr. Henri Nouwen’s words, himself a gay priest, who suffered emotionally by being in the closet of the Church, and whom the Roman Catholic Church never acknowledges even today his sexual orientation, :

“There can hardly be a better image of caring than that of the artist who brings new life to people by his honest and fearless self portrait.. .While growing in age (Rembrandt) he was more and more able to touch the core of the human experience, in which individuals in their misery can recognize themselves and find “courage and new youth.. . .We will never be able to really care if we are not willing to paint and repaint constantly our self-portrait, not as morbid self-preoccupation, but as a service to those who are searching for some light in the midst of the darkness.” 

All three of these gay men are examples of living out the Gospel of love in the midst of hate, and they continually repainted their portraits into one of being a light in the world and living out the words of Galatians:

“Only do not use your freedom for an opportunity of fulfilling your own desires, but through love serve one another, for the whole law is summed up one word:

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:1; 13-14″.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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