Service Matters – 23rd Week in Ordinary Time

9 September 2013

23rd Week in Ordinary Time

St. Peter Claver


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 15:1-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,

but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,

“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 


So often when the gospels talk about “sinners,” irony is heavy in the air.   Here the tax collectors and sinners are the ones drawing near and listening to Jesus.   That puts them in the right place to leave behind, turn away from, be healed of sin—whatever works to make life small, dark, diminished.


The self-identified non-sinners have no real idea of what Jesus is all about.   They do not listen but keep their distance so they can throw jabs at him, look for fault, and discount his efforts.


It is important not to romanticize tax collectors and sinners in the gospels and not to caricature scribes and Pharisees.   Sin does real damage.  Pharisees and scribes are trying hard to be good, but they represent a human tendency to think we have arrived and then to close the gates around us and our own tribe.


Sinners and tax collectors have the advantage of having obvious need, and they cannot pretend to have arrived, to have it all together.   They know they need the good news.   So they are in the right place.


The gospel gives us a chance to look where Jesus is—engaged with them all.


-Are there ways you can see you can be like the scribes and Pharisees?

-Can you have the humble attitude the tax collectors and sinners represent?

-Pay attention to your feelings toward the Lord welcoming and eating with sinners.




2. Last Week in Camden

These early days of the school year provide a good time to get organized.
As we do that the calendar for service groups for this school year is filling in nicely.



3. Upcoming Events

This week is a golf tournament to benefit the Cathedral ministries spearheaded by parishioner Bob Cavanaugh.   There is an Oblate Staff meeting on Wednesday.     Joseph’s House board meets Wednesday as well; I’ll be phoning in from Wilmington, DE.    The Camden Oblate community has a retreat day at Cape May—to look at the year ahead.



4. Links

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 new floor plan.



Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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