Luke gets very factual in today’s Gospel. You can almost pinpoint exactly when it occurred. Yet it was recorded for our reflection now.
But if Luke were writing it today, it would go something like this: in the 7th year of the presidency of Obama, when Brown was governor of California, Garcetti mayor of LA, Schiff local senator, Kuehl local supervisor, during the high priesthood of Archbishop Jose Gomez, the word of God was spoken to Pope Francis, who visited the regions of Washington, New York Philadelphia, as well as Kenya and Central Africa, proclaiming repentance for violence, forgiveness of one another, as is written by the Old testament prophet, Isaiah: his is a herald’s voice crying out in the desert of San Bernadino, make ready the way of the Lord, clear out hatred, create a straight path, every valley of hatred will be filled in, every hill of anger and hurt will be leveled, and all mankind throughout the world shall see and know the salvation of God.
But he’s is not writing today. You and I are to bring this message to our generation, and how urgently it is needed.
When, and only when, we all act - and truly are - his disciples, his followers who care more about actually using our talents and gifts to end poverty for those on the streets at Vermont/Prospect, can we begin to put this ideal into practice. Join me on Thursday Jan. 28th for about 3 hours while we join an LA county effort to count all the homeless. We will only be counting here in Hollywood. I need some who will count from their cars, others who will walk several blocks in groups, counting those in doorways, alleys, sidewalks. We will not engage them in conversation, just note their general age, under 18, over 60, or if they are disabled. I have told the civil organizers that I will try to recruit 100 people to help with the count. Will you give of your time? Sign up sheets are available after Mass; already we have over 30 from our parish alone. But this should be a Los Feliz event. Ask your neighbors, regardless of their race or religion - or lack of any faith – for this is a civic effort. Let's do what we can to get an actual number of the people who have the streets as their home. We want to get a good idea of their number so our civic leaders have facts upon which to make decisions regarding funding and urgency.
I’m so proud of what our parish is going already in helping the others: every Tuesday providing space for AA to meet; offering our facilities for local neighborhood organizations, daily distributing sandwiches to the hungry. We introduce the Jubilee Year of Mercy on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception this Tuesday, by bring scarves to Mass; they’ll be distributed along with the sandwiches on Wednesday. Next week we collect blankets, after Christmas it’ll be coats.
And then in the last Thursday of January, the 28th, I invite you to be leaders in helping our officials know just how many people are on the streets in the Los Feliz area. You and I are called to be John the Baptist crying out in our own local wilderness.