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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yom Kippur


As our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the Holy Days of Yom Kippur, we are reminded in the Torah readings of G-d's desire that we reach out to poor amongst us.  In the morning, Temple goers are admonished to make peace with G-d by repenting sincerely.  The reading from the scroll of Isaiah describes the proper way to fast is by clothing the naked and feeding the hungry...

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard." 
Isaiah 58: 6-8
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Carol King once lamented, "Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?"

"Leave Him alone, He has done nothing wrong," said the thief on the cross to the other. "We deserve what we have received, but ..." feelings of compassion and mercy poured out of his heart. Exchanging mercy for mercy, Jesus replied to the compassionate one, "This day you will be with me in paradise."

Does anyone feel anything anymore? In the early 1900s, a priest was tortured and then painfully walked to his death by a Mexican military hostile to Christ and His Church. One soldier felt compassion, he got off his horse and carried the priest to lighten his burden. Both the priest and the soldier were executed upon arriving at the designated spot. Does anyone feel anything anymore? Carol King once lamented, "Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?" Another lyricist once wrote, "Does anybody know what time it is? Does anybody really care?" What will you do with the poor and suffering Homeless In America?
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Echoing Words More Like an Old Testament Prophet than a New Testament Apostle

From the same Apostle who admonishes “faith without works is dead,” James in his letter tells us to guard against preferential treatment of the rich at the expense of the poor. But he also gives us this sound bite, echoing words more like a prophet than an Apostle …

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.” James 5:1-6
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Please take a moment to donate online to Servants of the Father of Mercy StreetReach for homeless living under the bridges and in alleyways. There is a need for water sponsors, $20 - food sponsors, $125 and monthly sponsors are needed for van insurance $50 and operation/upkeep $300. God bless you for your compassion and help for the Homeless In America. Donate: http://www.servantsofthefather.org/donation_homeless


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Name Unknown, a Memorial for one Dubbed "Mountain Man"

video
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Please take a moment to donate online to Servants of the Father of Mercy StreetReach for homeless living under the bridges and in alleyways. There is a need for water sponsors, $20 - food sponsors, $125 and monthly sponsors are needed for van insurance $50 and operation/upkeep $300. God bless you for your compassion and help for the Homeless In America.
Kindness in increments of $10 at - http://www.servantsofthefather.org/donation_homeless

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Homeless have a Name, His Name is Ray

By
Mark Horvath

Ray is intelligent, articulate and lives in a tent. He walks miles each day for food and water. His government assistance check is not enough to cover housing, never mind his other costs of living. He struggles everyday to stay safe and survive these deplorable and unsanitary living conditions.

If you think this sounds like a third-world country, you’re not too far off. During my two days visiting Sacramento’s infamous tent cities I could not shake the feeling that I had somehow transported to Kenya or Southern Sudan, where people walk for days just to get water and the living conditions are paltry. It boggles my mind that people are forced to live like this in the richest country in the world.

I still cannot shake the feeling that what I experienced in Sacramento is the future of America’s middleclass. That said, may we never accept tent cities as “normal.” There is nothing normal about the lives Ray and countless others are being forced to live.
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Please take a moment to donate online for this week’s StreetReach to homeless living under the bridges and in the alleyways of downtown Los Angeles. There is a need for a water sponsor, $20 - a food sponsor, $125 and sponsors are needed for van insurance $50 and upkeep $300. God bless you for your compassion and help for the Homeless In America.
Kindness in increments of $10 at - http://www.servantsofthefather.org/donation_homeless

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why We Should not Judge Others, Especially the Poor and the Homeless

Excerpt from Wm. Paul Young’s book, The Shack, a #1 New York Times Bestseller. It has been said of The Shack: “This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!”

“Yes in Jesus, you are not under any law. All things are lawful.”

“You can’t be serious! You’re messing with me again,” moaned Mack.

“Child,” said Papa, “You ain’t heard nuthin yet.”

“Mackenzie,” Sarayu continued, “those who are afraid of freedom are those who cannot trust us [God] to live in them. Trying to keep the Law is actually a declaration of independence, a way of keeping control.”

“Is that why we [humans] like the Law so much – to give us some control?” asked Mack.

“It is much worse than that,” resumed Sarayu. “It grants you the power to judge others and feel superior to them. You believe you are living a higher standard than those you judge. Enforcing rules, especially in more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. And contrary to what you might think, I have a great fondness for uncertainty. Rules cannot bring freedom; they have only the power to accuse.”

“Whoa!” Mack suddenly realized what Sarayu had said. “Are you telling me that responsibility and expectation are just another form of rules we are no longer under? Did I hear you right?"
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Please take a moment to donate online for this week’s StreetReach to homeless living under the bridges and in the alleyways of downtown Los Angeles. There is a need for a water sponsor, $20 - a food sponsor, $125 and sponsors are needed for van insurance $50 and upkeep $300. God bless you for your compassion and help for the Homeless In America at -http://www.servantsofthefather.org/donation_homeless

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Slice of Homeless Life on the East Coast

A follower of Homeless In America sends in this story via U.S. Mail from Myrtle Beach, SC, Thursday, September 3, 2009, The Sun News: Myrtle Beach, a beach community attracting many homeless living on the East Coast, the officials there are asking for the jurisdiction to write more citations inside county property inside the city in order to break up areas where homeless people habitually camp. Meanwhile, the city has asked property owners to clear out undergrowth - for example on the lot next to Street Reach, (a homeless food and day services ministry) where homeless people have been camping. Homeless In America visited Street Reach and reported on it about one year ago (see Thursday, June 24, 2008).

Be sure to scroll down a few rolls and view yesterday's post - a short movie titled, Homeless Purgatory. The film is both entertaining and thought provoking.
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Please take a moment to donate online for this week’s StreetReach to homeless living under bridges and in the alleyways of downtown Los Angeles. There is a need for a water sponsor, $20 - a food sponsor, $125 and sponsors are needed for van insurance $50 and upkeep $300. God bless you for your compassion and help for the Homeless In America. DONATE at - http://servantsofthefather.org/donation_poor_homeless

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Real Sin of Sodom ... and it's NOT what You Think!


Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. Ezekiel 16:49-50

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Wakeup Call from the Prophet Ezekiel

The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the migrant and the immigrant, denying them justice. I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. Ezekiel 22:29-30

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Prostitute “Ordered too many Burgers” and other Good People

by
Kylyssa

Being homeless was an extremely dark time for me. But I would have to say that if I could change the past, I wouldn't. Every bit of terror, pain, and indignity shaped the person I am. Not only that, but the experience of dragging myself up from less than nothing - I guess I'm pretty proud of that.

I also saw uncompromising goodness during the bleakest points - people little better off than myself who helped and nurtured and saved lives including my own. I grew to see all of the good people as family.

Let me explain about that. When I say the good people I'm not talking about who society would call good people. I'm talking about people who, even when broken and discarded, beaten and abused, maintain a spark of love and decency in their spirits. I'm referring to the prostitute who "ordered too many burgers" all the time and sought me out to "get rid of the extra ones" on her way home. I'm referring to the crack head who stood up to the well-dressed young man who decided to knock me around a little. I'm referring to the discarded old man who bathed me like a child and pushed me in a shopping cart to the ER after I was raped and stabbed. I'm referring to everyone who is like them, or would be like them under the cruel pressures and birth pains they've suffered.

I wouldn't change my knowledge of their existence for anything in the world. Underneath it all, even in the worst of worst times human beings are good at heart.

You'd think having seen some of the most evil things a man can do to another, and seeing its imprint written on the faces of those I came to see as family - you'd think I'd have learned to see the evil in mankind more clearly than the good. But I do. I see evil more clearly than ever before. But I see where it comes from. I see how sometimes, the breaking of a man snuffs out that spark of love and decency in his heart. Sometimes, there's not even tinder left should someone decide to try re-lighting it. It's not something chosen, it's a spiritual injury.

Since I escaped the streets, I've done what I can to help others do the same. Mostly, it has been personal and direct - taking in discarded teens, teens who were too gay, too pagan, or just too much effort for their parents. When I was too poor to buy extra food, or was already pushing the limit on the number of occupants in my apartment I gave literacy and companionship. But I've also tried to wake people up to my understanding, to wake them up to the value of every human being. None of this is charity, none of this is "good works" - this is my family and it's my responsibility to care for them. It's yours, too, whether you know it or not.

More by Kylyssa on the Internet at http://www.squidoo.com/inspired_by_homelessness
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

How do you Spell Success?

"Through all your days, my son, keep the Lord in mind, and suppress every desire to sin or to break his commandments. Perform good works all the days of your life, and do not tread the paths of wrongdoing. For if you are steadfast in your service, your good works will bring success, not only to you, but also to all those who live uprightly.

"Give alms from your possessions. Do not turn your face away from any of the poor, and God's face will not be turned away from you. Son, give alms in proportion to what you own. If you have great wealth, give alms out of your abundance; if you have but little, distribute even some of that. But do not hesitate to give alms; you will be storing up a goodly treasure for yourself against the day of adversity. Almsgiving frees one from death, and keeps one from going into the dark abode. Alms are a worthy offering in the sight of the Most High for all those who give them …

"Do not keep with you overnight the wages of any man who works for you, but pay him immediately. If you thus behave as God's servant, you will receive your reward. Keep a close watch on yourself, my son, in everything you do, and discipline yourself in all your conduct. Do to no one what you yourself dislike. Do not drink wine till you become drunk, nor let drunkenness accompany you on your way.

"Give to the hungry some of your bread, and to the naked some of your clothing. Whatever you have left over, give away as alms; and do not begrudge the alms you give." Tobit 4:5-16
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Compassion = Justice

"My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: 'In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.'

"What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

"So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love--a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke."

From a speech by Robert F. Kennedy as he stood on the back of a flatbed truck in Indianapolis, Indiana and told a crowd the news of Martin Luther King's death.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Poor are Right in Your Own Homes

By
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
The reason why the vocation of the Missionaries of Charity Brothers and Sisters and their co-workers is so beautiful is that it is a vocation for everyone - [all Christians]. All of us have been given the opportunity to be completely possessed by Jesus. The work He has entrusted to you and me is nothing more than putting our love for Him into action. What you do, I cannot do. What I do, you cannot do. But together, you and I can do something beautiful for God.

That is why Jesus made Himself the Bread of Life, to satisfy our hunger for God and for His love. I believe that was not enough for Him. Jesus made Himself the hungry one, the naked one, the destitute one who is dying. He said, “I was hungry, naked, sick, homeless. . , and you did it to Me.” That is why I say that the Brothers and Sisters of Charity are not simply social workers. They are contemplatives in the heart of the world because they are in contact with the body of Christ twenty-four hours a day.

The truth applies to each [Christian] also: in your homes and in every aspect of your lives. Jesus is still saying, “I was hungry.” In your homes you have a staving Christ, a naked Christ, a homeless Christ. Are you capable of recognizing Him in your own homes? Do you realize that He is right there in your midst?

How many times does a child run away from home because there is no one there to love him! How often it is that the elderly in the family are not at home. Instead, they are in nursing homes because no one has the time for them. The poor are right in your own homes. Are you aware of that?
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Monday, September 7, 2009

"Granny D"


“Aren’t we privileged to live in a time when everything is at stake, and when our efforts make a difference in the eternal contest between light and shadow, between togetherness and division? Between justice and exploitation? O, be joyful that you are a warrior in this great time! Will we rise to this battle? If so, we cannot lose, for rising up to it is our victory. If we represent love in the world, you see, we have already won.”

Excerpt from Doris “Granny D” Haddock’s 93rd birthday speech. Haddock walked across America at age 90 to call attention to the need for campaign finance reform and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire in 2004.
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Saturday, September 5, 2009

What is Holiness?

By
Fr. Bobby Titco

Holiness is the perfection of charity. The more loving we are, the more holy we are. Holiness is not the result of kneeling the whole day inside the church. Sore knees, not holiness is what you get from kneeling the whole day inside the church. Holiness is the fruit of loving prayer and loving deeds combined.

When we are holy, the devil is afraid of us. Of course, he continues to tempt us so that we may fall into sin and be unholy. But strip the devil of his mask and you will see a frightened monster, cowing in the presence of a holy man.

If we want to free the world from evil, we must strive to be holy. We have to continue loving until our love is made perfect. The reason why there is so much evil in the world is because there is not enough love in the world. Because there is so much insincerity in our love, there is little holiness around us. Because there is little holiness around us there is so much evil in the world.

Let us love and we will be holy. Let us be holy by loving. No matter how small our corner in this world, provided we keep on loving, there will always be a corner in this world where evil cannot thrive. Each day, let us conquer evil. Each day, let us love. Each day, let us be holy.
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Friday, September 4, 2009

They Rumble Away in the Morning ...

Recently, Catherine Saillant, a Los Angeles Times writer reported on Ventura County's newest and most reluctant vagabonds – the “mobile homeless.” These are people who pass the night inside aging recreational vehicles at busy shopping mall parking lots. For privacy, they hang bed sheets in windows. They rumble away in the morning.

A knock on the door brings a barking or a wary face. They're embarrassed -- and tired of being told to move along. More than anything, they want to be left alone. "We've had some tough times," said Mike, an electrician parked with his girlfriend, Denise, in his 1973 RV at a Sam's Club in Oxnard. "We're just trying to make ends meet without getting harassed."

The couple said they've been cited by police three times for illegal overnight parking in the month since they left their Oxnard rental home after Denise lost her job as a home health aide.

Housing advocates, social workers and police in Ventura County all say they've seen an increase in the mobile homeless. Their counterparts elsewhere in California are seeing the same thing.

But municipal leaders worry about a backlash from angry residents who don't want strangers staying overnight near their homes. Business owners fear shantytowns on public and private lots.

The debate is playing out in Ventura County, where cities 12 miles apart have adopted starkly divergent policies. After hearing heated comment on both sides of the issue last month, Ventura city leaders decided that people no longer will be cited and fined $125 for sleeping in parking lots. Police in the beach town will now give a warning before issuing a citation.

In Camarillo, a 15-minute drive south on U.S. Highway 101, the reception was decidedly different. The City Council recently passed its first-ever ban on sleeping in vehicles, spurred by business owners complaining about RVs parked for days in shopping mall lots.

The city manager said it would be unfair to portray the well-tended bedroom community of Camarillo as coldhearted. "If someone is truly homeless, let us connect them to a resource that is safer than sleeping in your vehicle," Bankston said.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"At the Present Time Your Hands are Empty"

On November 13, 1965, Conchita, one of four children who together were having on-going mystical encounters in Garabandal, Spain - alone in the pouring rain, Conchita received what was to be the last vision of the Blessed Mother in the village's mountainous pines of the Pyrenees. Conchita, content to meet once again Mary and the child Jesus in her arms, said this - what was to be among her last words in direct contact with the Blessed Mother ...

"Oh how happy I am when I see you. Why don't you take me with you now?" The Blessed Mother replied, "Remember what I told you on your saint's day: when presenting yourself before God, your hands must be filled with good deeds done for your brothers and for His glory. At the present time, your hands are empty." (Garabandal Journal, September/October 2005)
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Relationships are Never about Power


By
Wm. Paul Young

“Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to hold power over another is to choose to limit oneself – to serve. Humans often do this – in touching the infirm and sick, in serving the ones whose minds have left to wander, in relating to the poor, in loving the very old and the very young, or even in caring for the other who has assumed a position of power over them.”

Excerpt from Young’s book, The Shack, the book as become a #1 New York Times Bestseller. It has been said of The Shack: “This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!”