Service Matters – 18th Week in Ordinary Time

2 August 2010

18th Week in Ordinary Time


  • DeSales Service Works
  • Service Word
  • Last Week in Camden
  • Upcoming Events
  • Peace and Justice Blog


1. DeSales Service Works

DeSales Service Works is a project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ, that welcomes volunteers join us in prayer, work and reflection in our struggling neighborhood.


2. Service Word

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him,‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”


This scene gives us an opportunity to observe Jesus, so we can know him, learn from him and have reason to admire and love him.   The man in the crowd asks the Lord to settle a dispute.  It seems like that would be easy enough for Jesus to do, but he does not do it.  Instead of offering any quick and easy “solution,” Jesus challenges the man to go deeper, toward a real peace and healing.    The Lord lays out values, which offer tools to the man to live more deeply in his life.


I don’t thing the fact that Jesus has taught about the dangers of greed and the relative value of possessions meant the man has to give up his claim to his inheritance.   It seems just and fair that the heirs would share any inheritance.   But surely the way he goes about pursuing his rights and the way he might treat his brother will be different because of this encounter with Jesus.   Now perhaps he would consider even how their sisters might be heirs as well.    Perhaps he might focus on the loss everyone must feel —loosing their father.


Jesus leaves this man with work to do; he gives guidance and a way forward but it is the man who has to find his way.    There will be no solution from on high to offer a short cut around facing the situation of his life.


Are then any issues you might be facing where you just want a quick solution?

Can you look deeper to more challenging way, even if the way is less sure?

What enables Jesus to have the self-possession to answer calmly under pressure, with people hanging on his words—whether out of high regard or out of desire to trip him up?  


3. Last Week in Camden

Catholic Network of Volunteer Service, CNVS, is an umbrella organization for some 400 volunteer groups of varying sizes and focuses —like De Sales Service Works.  CNVS offers support, workshops, networking and recruiting opportunities, and a great print and online catalogue that features information about all member groups.   I represented CNVS at St. Katherine Drexel Parish in Egg Harbor, NJ this weekend.    It was a great opportunity to talk about all the good done by volunteers in so many desperately needy places in our world.


In a follow up to last week’s “Vistory” service retreat, DSW volunteer, Tim Gallagher continued tutoring the three Dominican teens who came to our camp.    They meet for an hour and a half each weekday.  The guys are getting more confident trying out English words and conversational phrases.


4. Upcoming Events

2-6 August Georgetown Visitation Academy

8-11 August a couple from Good Shepherd Parish in Alexandria, Va.

27 August DSW year-long volunteers arrive in Camden


5.  Peace and Justice Blog

Patrick Kennedy’s blog is back with a steady flow of fresh postings.   Check out updates on Haiti and more DSW & Camden reflections.

 Thanks, Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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