Vision of God

Numbers 20:28: “Moses stripped Aaron of his vestments and put them on his son Eleazer and Aaron died on top of the mountain. .Moses and Aaron came down from the mountain.”

2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a: “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us, let us arrange a little room on the roof.”

    In our first scripture, Aaron is dying, and Eleazar receives his vestments. An era has ended.

    My time is coming to an end. I feel it in my bones, I feel it in the air. I have been in ministry over three fourths of my life, it is all that I have ever known.

    Last night a friend, who is Hispanic commented as she was preparing dinner, “River you are the ony “white person” I know who treats us as equals, you are one of us.”

    And so as our time moves to its closure that is the highest complement that has ever been paid to me. Paul tells us that we should be “All things to all men,” and that is what we strive for–to enter into people’s lives, without judgment, accepting them for who they are. And the very essence of what we believe and have so inadequately tried to practice is that Jesus is love, and his love is given through our actions. That love sees no race, creed, color or religion–but simply care and concern.


    In the second passage the woman of Shuem calls us  to hospitality, to what our mission in life is all about. She creates housing for the prophet Elisha, a woman who has so very little. 

     Today on the Feast of St. Irenaeus, we hear his words, “Now the glory of God is humanity, full alive, for humanity’s true life is the vision of God.

    The conservative estimates are that upwardly, 70 million people have been forced to leave their homes today due to war, poverty, threat of starvation, lack of housing, etc.

    Jesus calls us into solidarity with those outside the bonds of family, culture, race, religion. He calls us to see no color, religion, culture, race, but as “the glory of God” in their humanity.

    On our streets alone in San Francisco there are several thousand people who are homeless, and it is estimated that in San Francisco alone a fourth of the population struggles with the lack of food, always on the edge of starving. I have seen so many die, so many suffer, and see that every day.

    Gary is turning 50, he wants me to take him out to a nice restaurant on his birthday, which we will.  He sleeps on the corner of the street, and has for twenty years, I cry over the Gary’s of San Francisco, I sometimes go home and throw up because of not being able to provide for the Gary’s on our street each day,  for in this country there is no need for people to be hungry or homeless.

    The woman from Shuem, can show us the way. Going beyond the bounds of normal hospitality she creates a dwelling for the prophetic word, allowing it to transform her every day life. The result is a blessing beyond her expectation. So let us allow the Word to transform our lives

    We are called to see that “the glory of God is humanity,” and to love each person, to care for each person. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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