Monday, January 25, 2016

do you "pretend it doesn't exist"?

That's right, San Francisco, pretend it doesn't exist. Cover it up, because God forbid anyone should think otherwise about your "pristine" city. Take your poor, your wretched, your souls huddled in masses on street corners and in bus shelters and shuffle them off to another side of town, one out of the way of cameras flashing and people walking. Hide all of your homeless until the Super Bowl, that extravaganza of excess, is over, then release them once more, back to the streets, back to the life they have been living for the last God knows how long. Sweep the streets, make nice with the rich and famous, but pity the homeless and say "We've done the best we can."

The quote above is a rant from me. Yesterday I read in the newspaper that the best image that San Fransisco can present is to hide the homeless until the joy and revelry are over.

Hide about help them?

If a city can hide them, how about you? Do you also "hide them?" Do you blithely go about life as if poverty, hunger, illness and need don't exist? It doesn't have to be that stranger on the street, it can also be the dysfunction within our families. Alcoholism. Drug addictions. Even just day to day abuses: the arguing of spouses, the torment of children bullying each other. How many of you gladly buy a lottery ticket for some big, elusive prize, but when that basket is passed at church, in goes a dollar, maybe three if you're feeling generous?

Jesus admonished that the poor we'd always have among us. It's a fact of life, a very sad fact of life. When someone asked Jesus, "what's the best way to get into heaven?" Jesus told him to "go, sell all that you have and come follow Me!" That man slunk away. "Sell all of my possessions, is He crazy?"

 Again and again, Jesus reminded us what happens if we accumulate too much wealth...of building bigger barns, of ignoring the poor, and how much better it is to give away what you have, but do not need. "For My Father in heaven knows that you need these things, therefore do not fret about what do we have to eat, or what shall we wear. Does He not take care of the birds of the field? How much more you are to Him than they?" (Matthew 6:26)

You can't take it with you, so you may as well give it away. God looked more favorably on the widow who gave all that she had...just two coins, more so than on someone of extravagant wealth who gave, say, ten dollars. Why? Because..."she gave all that she had!" (Mark 12:41-44)

You may not be able to care for the whole world, but to someone, you just may be the whole world. Start with does have a ripple effect, you know. Walk in the shoes of those who may not even have a decent pair of shoes. Offer yourself in some way to someone for whom life has cast them in a corner. Is there an alcoholic in your family? One who has been "cast in a corner?" Are you embarrassed by that person? Do you argue, yell and literally cast them aside, all because they have fallen off the proverbial wagon yet again and this time, you really mean it when you say, "get out!" Out into whatever hazard there is in life....
would Jesus do that?

Each situation is individual. I cannot presume to know what baggage that you may have, but I have "been there." Child abuse? Lived it. Domestic abuse? That, too. I have been poor, (before governments had safety nets). I have been bullied as a child. I have seen the worst of alcoholism. I have heard from those who have abused drugs. I have walked many paths. It has been said that those who have struggled understand struggle better than those for whom the gilded life has lead to comfort.

In all things, let God be your Guide. Seek Him in those whom society has cast out. Be an angel for someone today. Forgive those who need forgiveness. Clothe those who are in need, offer shelter and hope for those who are lacking. It isn't all that hard to be a beacon of God's love.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
~Prayer of St Francis of Assisi