10 June 2013
Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ,
DeSales Service Works welcomes volunteers to join
in service, prayer, and learning in our struggling neighborhood.
- Service Word
- Last Week in Camden
- Upcoming Events
1. Service Word Luke 7
Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,
“If this man were a prophet,
he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,
that she is a sinner.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
We do not learn the name of the woman in this scene, but we hear her referred to as a “sinner.”
What makes her a sinner; what is her sin? —Profiting from selling weapons or other supplies for wars in the Middle-East—or in Afghanistan or Iraq? Does she run a business that charges inflated prices for health care, or promote prescription of drugs that get patients hooked? Does she sell or promote food that has limited nutritional value—or that even contributes significantly to ill health? Does she waste food in a hungry world? Does she use the body of another human for her pleasure? Maybe she’s a lawyer in a system where justice really takes a back seat to winning? Is she owner of a company that pays employees less than a living wage? Does she acquire apparently unlimited profit while people around her are just getting by? Can she be impatient, judgmental, lazy, or selfish?
While any of the above would make her a sinner, it seems likely that “sinner” here serves as a euphemism for a woman engaged in prostitution. That would make her really more victim than sinner. But with the Lord, sin is not so much about a legal violation, but it is about broken relationships and lack of wholeness. He is all about healing.
The woman needs to be healed and so does Simon the Pharisee, clearly. In fact in the gospels, when a person goes unnamed, she or he represents all believers. We are all sinners, offered healing, challenged to the richer, more generous, and loving life of the Lord.
With Jesus we do not see any rejection; he treats both sinners with respect, kindness, and robust love. He accepts the woman’s extravagant attention and care. He challenges his host to rethink his prejudices and self-satisfaction, to examine his conscience.
-What applications does Jesus’ approach have toward Camden addicts, drug dealers, homeless men, homeless women?
-Who is it easy for you to tend to reject?
-Watching Jesus in this scene, what do you feel about him?
2. Last Week in Camden
DSW summer interns continued with their middle week, offering great service and opportunity to grow in understanding of Camden and Catholic Social Teaching. I observed a lot of fun being had along with all the service. Thanks to Mike Morgan and the interns for all the good work and community!
Eight graders from Our Lady of Victory in Washington were here for three days of service and reflection on an “alternative graduation trip.” They worked with school kids, at New Visions day shelter, and got to painting murals on the storage barn, part of Northgate Park’s new bike sharing program. Thanks!
3. Upcoming Events
DSW’s summer interns have one more full week of community, prayer, learning and service in Camden.
The second session of DSW’s Summer Internship Program takes place July 7 – 28. If you are a high school or college student over 18 or a recent grad, you are very welcome, contact DSW for more information.
Have you seen the video of Pope Francis speaking with and taking questions from students from Jesuit schools in Italy and Albania gathered in Rome’s Paul VI Audience Hall to see him? As you might expect, he connects very well and offers sensible insights.
Alex, one of the inters has a great blog. Check it out: http://thecamden5.wordpress.com/
Have a good week,
Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS