Service Matters – 9th Week in Ordinary Time

7 March 2011

9th Week in Ordinary Time

Sts. Perpetua and Felicity


A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ,

De Sales Service Works welcomes volunteers to join

in service, prayer and learning in our struggling neighborhood.



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


1. Service Word   Matthew 7:21-27 

Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.   Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?  Did we not drive out demons in your name?  Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’   Then I will declare to them solemnly, I never knew you.


The word “Lord” is worth a look.   It can be used like the titles: CEO, boss, executive director, or president— for powerful individuals dealing in the realm of mighty deeds, able to lord it over others.  It could even be used in flattery to try to influence and to share power.


Jesus is clearly challenging believers to get beyond mighty deeds to really know him.  We can use “Lord” in prayer to address God, sharing about situations and people closest to our hearts; so it can become an intimate name.    It can remind us to make Jesus Lord in our lives, by continually and consciously choosing the Father’s will—his values and vision—to make them our own.   And it can point us to the reality that God is in charge, ultimately—but not in bossy, controlling ways.   Instead, our Lord invites and challenges us to choose life and reality over mighty deeds and any choices that lead to dead ends.


-Does your prayer ever have a quality of flattery or “bribing?”

-Are you aware of any dead end trajectories among your choices?

-How would you characterize your intimacy and trust in knowing the Lord?


2. Last Week in Camden

The first two of twelve Salesianum school-day service retreats for juniors were last week.   Students worked with homeless people in the morning and with grade school kids at lunch and recess.   (Recess was a favorite activity.)


Some of the of the Sallies students joined year-long volunteer Mike Morgan passing out flyers to promote a meeting at the DSW house trying to address the issue of abandoned houses.   One out of every five houses in Camden is abandoned: with owners long gone, taxes uncollected, and neighboring homes devalued by the vacant places.   Passing out flyers is a great activity for getting volunteers into the neighborhood to meet people and to promote a positive effort.   This promotion paid off; around 35 citizens attending the meeting on Saturday.


A group from Rivier College in New Hampshire began their alternative spring break this weekend.   They jumped right in cleaning in the alley, making soup and serving at  Joseph’s House, and teaching CCD.


Billy Kurzenberger, who was here on his own for Christmas break, is back with us for his spring break for more service and community.


3. Upcoming Events

St. Lawrence University students arrive Saturday for spring break of service in Camden. The university is named after the river where it is located in northern New York, rather than after the deacon martyr, patron saint of cooks.


Ash Wednesday starts Lent this week.   I wish everyone a good Lent characterized by freshness and by any new starts we might need.

Let’s keep the situation in Libya in prayer.   Perpetua and Felicity are both from North Africa, mothers & martyrs.    Work for justice and peace has often required the ultimate sacrifice.


4. Salesian Peace and Justice Blog

Read past essays from the Peace & Justice Blog.   Pope Benedict gave a talk about St. Francis de Sales to a group in Rome last week: check it out.



Peace, Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS

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