Service Matters – 21st Week in Ordinary Time

26 August 2013

21st 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
  •  Links


1. Service Word    Luke 14:1, 7-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine

at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,

and the people there were observing him carefully.


He told a parable to those who had been invited,

noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.

“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,

do not recline at table in the place of honor. 

A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,

and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,

‘Give your place to this man,’

and then you would proceed with embarrassment

to take the lowest place. 

Rather, when you are invited,

go and take the lowest place

so that when the host comes to you he may say,

‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’

Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. 


“Here, have some candy.”   Eddie offered me two Jolly Ranchers wrapped in clear plastic.   He had a bag and was spreading cheer and sweet refreshment before his 12 step meeting.   “Have a candy.”


Hand outstretched, Don asked, “Where’s mine?”    Eddie had passed him by in the distribution.   Ed is a “tough love” man and goes out of his way to provoke people to get them thinking, to invite a response.


Don wasn’t getting it—his hand out, asking, “What about me?”


This is the same Don I write about frequently—handicapped, addicted, prone to seizures, nearly deaf.    For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking of him as in a critical period; he’s in “intensive care.”     But I also wonder how really to help him.


Eddie found a chance to provoke me, asking if I am “enabling” Don.    Ed is a wise man, not settling at quick or simple judgement—instead giving the question to me to ponder.


I still haven’t answered the question.   But when he raised the issue, I told him that I admire his wise ways, his ability to offer tough love, targeted to what is needed.   “Come to meetings,” “pray,” he said.   We are all learning; observing Jesus carefully.


The candy caught Don’s attention, but there is much more than shiny sweets available.   God want so much more for him, and for us all, than what we think we want, what we think will satisfy.   In the gospel the place of honor is not something that can be taken, it has to be invited and then received.   Move up higher, the host tells us.


-What are some opportunities we have to observe Jesus carefully?

-To what is the Lord inviting you this week?

-Are there ways you could move up higher regarding what you are called to, what offers satisfaction?



2. Last Week in Camden

Wednesday a group of students from Hopeworks spent the morning here in service at alternating sandwich ministry and working on the Cathedral grounds.   The outdoor work included moving sizable granite blocks from our ruined convent to the garden shrine of the Blessed Mother.   The work made the statue more visible, more able to offer an uplift to all those passing by.



3. Upcoming Events

Work continues on the new building for Joseph’s House of Camden Joseph’s House of Camden.   It will be able to accommodate 70 guests—up from 40 at our old Stevens Street, New Visions site.  Check out the floor plan of the new place.


Newly graduated from DeSales University, Bernard Camacho will be arriving this week, joining the DSW State Street community for a year of service.



4. Links

DSW, Joseph’s House of Camden, and the parish sandwich ministry—-and the Oblates—benefit from support from all directions that make the various works possible.  Thanks to all!

Check out a thoughtful gift from a grade school in northwest Philadelphia, Norwood-Fontbonne Academy, that has been a long-time supporter.



Thank you,

Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment