29 October 2012
30th Week in Ordinary Time
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 Mark10:46-52
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.
So often you can feel like a human ATM here; people ask for immediate needs: money, bus passes, shoes, clothing, food, attention. Not everyone does it, and it does not happen all the time, but need is always near the surface in Camden. Whether it is little kids at school who appear starved for attention, or young guys looking for jobs, or addicts who must feed the demon, whatever the cost to them or people around them.
Need is very obvious with Jesus and Bartimaeus, in this gospel scene. We encounter the blind man begging by the side of the busy road. Whatever his motive—desperation, faith, opportunism, chutzpah, childlike trust—he tells the Lord exactly what he wants. And he has the sense to aim high; he doesn’t ask for small change or a peanut butter & jelly sandwich on white bread. “Master, I want to see,” Bartimaeus prays. Jesus heals his blindness and invites him to leave roadside seat. This healing is not just about his eyes, as important as sight is. More and deeper, the Lord invites him to get up—to follow Jesus on the way. “The way” is an ancient and rich metaphor to describe Christian living. There is nothing mechanical or hit-and-run about this religion. It is all about the staying power, the faithfulness, the relationship God has with us. The Church in every corner of the earth serves as sacrament of God’s loyal friendship, reminding us that God walks with us through the all the twists and turns of the road of life. We are invited and challenged to give the same faithful connection to God that he has toward us.
-What about your relationship with the Lord makes you act as Bartimaeus does, “He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.”?
–What are some ways Church (even with all our/its imperfections) serves as sacrament of God’s love and faithfulness?
-Where does the commandment: “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” apply to your life now?
2. Last Week in Camden
Thursday freshmen from Father Judge were here with Fr. Joe Wisniewski for their service retreat. They all got to help with our services at the Cathedral site. One part of the group worked on the Peace Garden around the Cathedral removing two large tree stumps. As the group began, Bobby, a young homeless guy, and Jack,a gentleman who happened to be parked by one of the the stumps, joined the effort. Jack, owns a tree care company—What are the odds? Both assisted and offered encouragement to the students to work hard in school, so they will have options about how to make their living.
Saturday twelve students from the new Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. They worked together painting a fence across from Holy Name School with bold and positive orange and red designs. They also prepared for Hurricane Sandy by raking leaves and clearing storm drains.
DSW supporter and friend of Tim Gallagher, Jared Utley, arrived Sunday for service. However soon we realized that public transportation was closing quickly, so after some work with C.J. and Raphaël on a project in the school, he had to leave to get back to the DC area.
C.J. Colton is a Sallies grad who is volunteering in Camden for some time. He has brought generosity and skill to service here.
3. Upcoming Events
HURRICANE SANDY UPDATE
As I write Monday morning, Camden has so far only experienced a stead rain and windy conditions from the storm. I am glad to report that the City has been proactive, reaching out to homeless residents, opening emergency shelters in schools and in the community center in North Camden—and right downtown in the police station. Two police officers came by the Cathedral asking for sandwiches and snacks for 40 homeless people taking shelter at that police station.
Residents of “tent city” have taken advantage of these secure shelters. Ken and Barbie showed up at the door this morning, just checking in. Walsingham Academy in Williamsburg has a trip scheduled for the weekend; that is on hold because of the storm.
Read past Camden reflections at the archives of Service Matters on the Oblate website.
God bless you,
Mike McCue, OSFS