Service Matters – Third Week of Lent

5 March 2013

Third Week of Lent

St. Casimir


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 15:11


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.



4.  Links

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


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.




12:30 Lunch

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

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