13 December 2010
St. Lucy of Syracuse
Third Week of Advent
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
- Salesian Peace and Justice Blog
1. Service Word Matthew 11
When John the Baptizer heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see…”
Recently I got an e-mail from two Rowen University students requesting input on a project looking at the impact of religious groups in Camden. One of the questions they asked was, “Are your services primarily religious based?” I answered: “Our services are “religiously based” in the sense that religion and God are part of the motivation for service—and that focuses us on treating people with dignity—and hopefully with effective compassion and respect. In addition, people know all our service agencies are Catholic and Church motivated and supported. The Church has been in these neighborhoods from the beginning and has built up a good reputation of helping —and of staying here.”
I share that because of John the Baptist’s question, “are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” The Second Vatican Council encouraged us to see that God uses every way possible to draw people to himself and to have good and holy lives. We assert this without in any way diminishing the role of Jesus, “the one to seek.” The infinite God became human in Jesus, and there is no way to be human in the abstract. Every human has a gender, a race and ethnicity, a sexual orientation, a personality, an eye color. We are all from a concrete place, time and culture. We all have particular bodies, personalities, handicaps, gifts and psychological make-ups. So the Almighty shares our real humanity in this particular man from Nazareth.
Everything about the event we call the Incarnation invites and challenges us to pay attention to Jesus. That’s what the Lord tells John’s disciples, “Go and tell John what you see and hear.” Listening to Jesus and watching him in action naturally lead to commitment to social justice and charity.
What kinds of things connect you to Jesus’ actions and words?
What motivates your service at home and among the poor?
What ways is Jesus a vivid presence, inspiration, challenge, companion in your life?
2. Last Week in Camden
I was out of Camden last week for a silent retreat at the Wernersville Jesuit Center near Reading, PA. I returned in time for an amazing celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Cathedral. The feast was extravagant and beautiful—and pointed all of us to the humanity of God and to the call to love and service. Thanks to great friends in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, for donations to our neighbors.
3. Upcoming Events
This week students from Northwestern University will be staying at the service house working at Manna in Philadelphia. Tuesday a group of high school students from NJ will be here, and Wednesday Father Judge is back with another freshmen homeroom. 27 young women from Visitation Academy in Georgetown, DC, will be here Saturday and Sunday for service.
Save the date for the Oblates’ annual “friend raiser” at Knowlton Mansion in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia. February 11, 7:00-10:00.
4. Peace and Justice Blog Check out the Oblate Justice and Peace Blog.
Peace, Fr. Mike McCue, OSFS