Saturday, April 09, 2016

Serve at Table

So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.  Acts 6:2-5

When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”  John 6:16-20

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours. (Teresa of Avila)

Jesus continues to work to bring people out of the darkness of night into the morning of glory.  His need for assistants and assistance has never been greater.  As people get a chance to taste and see what he has to offer, they want Jesus to stay with them in their boat, their house or their town. 

Today, we also hear the story of the founding of the permanent diaconate, an office whose origin is to serve the people of the world.  Service, our Cursillo action leg, is embedded throughout the Good News.  However, my issue with today’s list of the first people chosen to serve the people starts a little too late. 

What about the most famous mother-in-law in this story?
Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him.  (Matthew 8:14-15)

Or the hospitality of Marth in this one?
As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.  She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.  Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” (Luke 10:38-40)

Or the witness of the Samaritan woman at the well in this one?
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.”  When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.  John 4:39-40

What part will you play in being the assistant to Jesus and offering assistance to
Has everyone been served yet?
(c) Time-Life Image from
"Nurse Midwife"
by Eugene W. Smith. 
the community whether you are formally a deacon or not? Consider this story of “diakonia” like service:

In December 1951, LIFE published one of the most extraordinary photo essays ever to appear in the magazine. Across a dozen pages, and featuring more than 20 of the great W. Eugene Smith’ pictures, the story of a tireless South Carolina nurse and midwife named Maude Callen opened a window on a world that, surely, countless LIFE readers had never seen — and, perhaps, had never even imagined.[i] The article in LIFE, titled simply “Nurse Midwife,” chronicled Callen’s work and her unique role in her community. Follow the link in the prior sentence to see the famous images.

Eventually, more than $20,000 in donations helped to build a clinic in Pineville, where Mrs. Callen worked until her retirement in 1971. Maude Callen died in 1990 at the age of 91 in Pineville, South Carolina, where she had lived, and served, for seven decades.

Has everyone been served yet?

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