Stand Firm!





 FAST FOOD (AD 2019): Second Helping

No reader of the New Testament, simple or sophisticated, can retain any doubt of Jesus’ position toward violence directed to persons, individual or collective, organized or free enterprise, he rejected it totally… Jesus in no way accepts violence as a means of controlling violence.                                                                                                                                                                         Rev. John L. McKenzie, Preeminent Catholic Biblical Scholar Mid-Twentieth Century

Matthew 8:23-27 English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Calms a Storm

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

How does the world feel for you today? Is fire falling all around? Is rage consuming communities: Are thunderclouds rolling and torrents swamping our life boats?

We hear talk of concentration camps on our borders. And yet through the years I have entered our SRO’s, Single Residency Hotels here in San Francisco, a City of great wealth, the City of St. Francis,  and have seen human wastes, rats, people drinking out of toilets. Last week I took some food to a gentleman who was sick, and mice were running all around. We need to be alert to what is right around the corner. It is not just now, but has been and is.

I believe that like the first disciples we should “stand firm” and trust in Christ, and remember the words of Psalm 26: “But I walk in integrity; redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot stands firm on level ground. .”

Henri Nouwen offers us a way of living in gratitude , and in so doing we can walk in our own integrity, in the wholeness of a life whose pieces are held together by faith, whose appearance on the outside matches it interior reality. Such a soul stays intact no matter how hot the fires burn, how hard the winds blow, and how unrelenting the waves are. Living a non-violent life does not mean living in peace, but living the way of Jesus of no-judgment, no violence, and trusting in God.

“Gratitude…goes beyond the “mine” and “thine” and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. . . . The choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious. . . . There is an Estonian proverb that says: “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” Acts of gratitude make one grateful because, step by step, they reveal that all is grace. “Father Henri Nouwen

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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