21 February 2011
Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
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 5:17-37
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill… .
You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his sister or brother will be liable to judgment.
The gospel readings during February this year are from the “Sermon on the Mount” where Jesus lays out his insight into life and happiness. The Lord directly takes on powerful forces that can easily have too much influence on human lives: anger, lust, spinning of the truth, desire for retribution, and keeping of enemies. He challenges us to work to replace these with understanding, love, telling of the truth, reconciliation, and grace.
The events in Egypt the last two weeks offer an example of the power in the direction the Lord points to. The scene in Cairo could so easily have gone a different way, but the people’s persistence, truth telling, and channeling of their anger for positive change made all the difference. Who knows how it will eventually unfold—politics and revolutions are very complicated. My favorite hopeful detail is the scene of volunteers with brooms and garbage bags cleaning up the square—again directing their passions in such a practical way.
-How can you channel your passions for good today?
-Take some time to notice how you are doing with the commands Jesus lays out so powerfully in this part of the Gospel.
-Can you consciously replace any negative force with its opposite, in order to chose a more positive life trajectory.
2. Last Week in Camden
Friday, Oblates and friends gathered at Knowlton Mansion in Philadelphia. Highlights included Oblate Provincial, Fr. Jim Greenfield, offering reflections on World Day of the Sick, and in gratitude for support for the Oblates. The Cathedral 11:30 Choir offered some Caribbean flavor to the gathering, sharing their vibrant music.
Sunday night DSW volunteer Tim Gallagher, Oblate novices Bob Killian and Ryan Cronshaw, and I spoke to a group at St. John Neumann Parish in Reston, VA. We enjoyed the hospitality of the community there and then shared about our experiences of service in Camden. Bishop Ireton student leader Liam O’Connor took the opportunity to bring the rest of the school’s donation of blankets, food, and socks for us to take to Camden.
3. Upcoming Events
Lead by former Oblate Associate Steve Delaney and former North Catholic campus minister Ed Fitzpatrick, students from Walstonham Academy in Williamsburg, VA, will spend the long weekend in Camden for a service retreat.
Also Friday, Jack Ryan will be here with family and classmates from Flourtown and Chestnut Hill, PA, for service in preparation for confirmation.
Holy Name Scholars will serve here Saturday, joining the students from VA, preparing soup for Joseph’s House and promoting an effort with DSW volunteer Mike Morgan to address the issue of abandoned houses.
4. Salesian Peace and Justice Blog
Read past Peace & Justice Blog essays and new postings at the DeSales Service Works section of the Oblate web site. In addition, I want to highlight a web resource, videos from a conference sponsored by Fordham University entitled, Twenty Somethings and the Church: Lost?.
Have a great week, Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS