Heavenly Yield

HEAVENLY YIELD

One Twenty Second Birthday of Dorothy Day

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager: Luke 16:1-9

16 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures[a] of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures[b] of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world[c] are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth,[d] so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings

      Biblical scholar Raymond Brown sums ups the parable message with striking bluntness “abundant money corrupts. .the right way to use it is to give it away to the poor and thus makes friends who when they go to heaven  can help.”  

    And on this one hundredth twenty second birthday of Dorothy Day we hear her words ring down through the years: “Whatever I had read as a child about the saints had thrilled me. I could see the nobility of giving one’s life for the sick, the maimed, the leper. But there was another question in my mind. Why was so much done in remedying the evil instead of avoiding it in the first place? Where were the saints to try to change the social order, not just to minister to the slaves, but to do away with slavery?”

    Dorothy saved my life when I was a whore on the streets of L.A., for her life showed me the gift of redemption, of grace, and that in that grace I could move out into ministry. Dorothy demonstrated what the Church never sowed me–redemption. She demonstrated that in valor there is no compromise.

    The poster above, found on the corner of Sutter and Polk, in an area soon to be gentrified, moving even further out the poorest of the poor tells us: “The Political Class of San Francisco is using Homeless Services to Launder Money, that is why it never gets better, the money never reaches the street.”

There is some truth in the poster, money always corrupts, and there is corruption, for the poor are often left out of the equation, but the Biblical truth it points out, and the truth that Dorothy raises the question about is that we are all called to “change the social order,” to feed and house the homeless, whom we step over each day, to transform our environment where all can have health insurance, and have food. We live in the richest area of the country and ten percent of our population is hungry. For when we seek to change the “social order’ in little ways, our political system will change. Is it easy? Father Henri Nouwen describes the answer to that question:

“Love among people is not first of all a feeling or an emotion or a sentiment but a decision of the will to be faithful to each other. .There are really no people whom we can love with unlimited feelings of love. We are all imperfect, broken, sinful people, but we are able to love one another because we are able to will to be faithful and constantly forgive each other’s unfaithfulness.”

And  in so doing we will be lead into heaven.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Father 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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