5 March 2013
Third Week of Lent
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
1. Service Word Luke 15:11
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
Jesus, the parable maker, mastered the craft of packing meaning, humanity, puzzlement, and glimpses of the Divine into seemingly little stories.
This son is all about merit—what he deserves or doesn’t deserve. In complete contrast, the father shows concern only for bonds of love and relationship. The prodigal young man is all about what he can get from the older man, what he deserves. But the father only has gift to offer. The religious word for this is “grace”—unmerited, undeserved, unearned, unexpected gift of love and relationship.
Human efforts are not unimportant, but there is an asymmetrical character here—God’s compassion and commitment are infinite, even our best efforts lose focus or simply fall short. AKA we sin. But again, that reality does not prevent God from loving us and inviting us to love in return and to fulfill our deepest nature to be more loving, less self-focused.
-Can you believe in the grace-filled character of God’s regard for you? Can you feel it?
-How does your love and compassion reflect the Creator’s way of loving?
-How do you do balancing being loving with being strong and not overly indulgent?
2. Last Week in Camden
Salesianum [high] School was here with homerooms Tuesday and Thursday. A group from Bishop Ireton spent three days beginning Thursday afternoon.
Saturday students from James Madison and Rivier Universities arrived for their spring breaks given for service in Camden. With longer days and generally warmer temperatures, it is getting easier to be outside working and interacting with neighbors.
3. Upcoming Events
This Saturday the DSW Reunion at Live Jesus will take place at St. John Neumann Parish. See the flyer at the bottom of the page. It will be an opportunity to connect again with DSW in Camden. RSVP if you are able to join us.
JMU and Rivier University continue their weeks here. Students from Williamsburg’s Walsingham Academy arrive from Virginia Thursday for five days of service. A Salesianum homeroom comes Friday for the school day.
Read past reflections at the archives of Service Matters.
I want to pass on two reports related to justice and Catholic Social Teaching that have appeared recently. The first is the documentary, A Place at the Table. This film by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush reports on widespread hunger is in the US and hopes to be a catalyst to address this hidden tragedy.
The other is an article in Time magazine by Steven Brill entitled, “Why Medical Bills are Killing Us.” The reporter asks the question, “What makes medical care—in the US—so expensive.” What he discovers is very disheartening. The link takes you to his Jon Stewart interview.
This is not directly related to moral teaching, but journalist John Thavis offers informed and reasonable insights about “the Vatican,” observing the current culture and structure of the papal ministry. His NPR interview is well done—welcome in this present environment.
Have a good week,
Mike McCue, OSFS firstname.lastname@example.org
Camden DeSales Service Works Live Jesus REUNION!
You are invited to a CAMDEN REUNION
Morning Retreat with outstanding presenters, including Oblate provincial, Fr. Jim Greenfield.
1:00 Update projects & people
with Ken & Barbie and DSW Volunteers.
1:30 “What did you take back home with you?” Reports from your neighborhood.
Join us for all of LIVE JESUS or join at 12:30 for the CAMDEN DSW REUNION.
St. John Neumann Parish, 11900 Lawyers Road, Reston, VA. 20191