Monday, October 1, 2007

Lucious Newsom & the Lord's Pantry

From the Indianapolis Star (September 9, 2007)

Lucious Newsom's story
Lucious Newsom, 91, has spent more than 20 years handing out free food to the poor in Indianapolis through his Lord's Pantry ministry. In summer 2006, he opened a community center in Stringtown named Anna's House for Anna Malloy, a little girl who has been a devoted volunteer for his ministry. The center provides education, medical care, tutoring and free food to those who need it.
"I'm 91 years old, and I've been in Indianapolis for 21 years. I came here for this cause. I had seen the Mozel Sanders dinner and I thought that was great, that Thanksgiving Day. But then that Friday, I wanted to help again and I was told that they only do this once a year. I thought it was very disgraceful to feed over 20,000 people one day and then your food's so good, it'll last a whole year.
"I'm from Chattanooga, Tenn., and I lived kind of in the mountains. I wasn't used to seeing a lot of people where people didn't help them.
"What motivated me to come to Indianapolis? To see the poor being exploited by people who professed to be serving the poor, and they were really using them. They were not. They weren't doing it to the glory of God. They were just doing it for their own edification.
"I have given up everything to serve the Lord. I'm no longer a seasoning manufacturer. I gave it away -- gave it to my children . . . to my wife, so they could live. And I don't get any funds from home. I live by faith. That's how I live, and doing pretty good, ain't I? Ain't lost any weight.
"My life is given over to the Lord Jesus to do with me as he sees fit. I'm not my own. I now belong to Jesus, all of me -- my hands, my feet, my voice, all of me now belong to Jesus. And I serve him, not the poor.
"I don't consider the people as the poor. I consider these people as me being able to serve Jesus through them for whatsoever you do to the least of them, Jesus said, you do it also to me.
"I beg. All the food that you see in here this morning I begged. We pay utility bills, rent. We bury the dead. Last year, we buried six people out of this community who had no funeral expense money, and we were blessed to be able to go out and get the money and bury them.
"Poverty will never go away. It's not meant to go away. I'm a Bible believer, and Jesus said the poor you will have with you always. They will never go away. They'll always be here.
"I can't help these older people. I can't get them out of poverty. But all of these young ones that come through here, they're gonna be scientists, doctors, attorneys, nurses, secretaries . . . you name it. The cream of the crop is gonna come right from this town. 'Cause if we help them to get a good education, I'm gonna guarantee you they won't be in poverty.
"Just every time you get an opportunity, do some good for somebody who don't have it. It will make you richer for doing it.
"That's what the Lord's Pantry is really all about. We're about serving the Lord. It's not about Lucious or anybody else."

Until next time, serve faithfully.
Mr. Basso

Monday, September 17, 2007

Christian Service Lesson 1: The Source of Our Call to Serve

Initial Question: Why Do Christians Serve Others?

Curriculum Standards:
9. Discipleship – baptism as the source of our Christian Vocation
13. Community Service - the call to participate in society

Scripture Passage:
John 13: 3 – 15 The washing of the disciples’ feet.
Christ, teacher and master, humbles himself to serve the disciples. He then gives them the commandment to follow his example.
“You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

Catechism Passages
1241 at baptism we are anointed “Priest, Prophet, and King”, which gives us a call to share in Prayer, Preaching, and Service.
1260 – 70 Baptism makes us members of the Church and places on us the responsibility to serve others.

1905 – 06 we have a responsibility to provide for the Common Good
1924 – 26 brief explanation of the Common Good and its requirements
Key Terms
- Responsibility / Duty: an action or aspect of one’s life for which he is accountable. A task one must ensure is done properly and fully.
- Humility: in regard to others it is the state of not seeing one as superior to one’s neighbor, born out of the conviction that all people are Children of God, made in His image, and bear within them a permanent dignity.
- Obedience: the moral virtue and evangelical counsel that leads us to submit to the Law / Will of God.

Reflection Questions
1. Why do you think people often feel as though we are “too good” to perform certain tasks? (be sure to then point the question back on students themselves)
2. What are your responsibilities? What makes something a responsibility? (Is it only the negative consequences of not performing it? Is it tied to a specific role you fill?)
3. Is obedience simply doing what you’re told without asking questions or is there more to it than that? (what motivates us to be obedient?)

Suggested Activity / Service Opportunity
1. Make a list five of your responsibilities and post them in your locker or inside your planner (or somewhere at home). Check daily to see how you are doing at fulfilling those responsibilities.
2. Go out of your way to help someone that you would normally consider “below” you. Be sure to do it in a way that respects their dignity and is not patronizing.

Saintly Quote
“Every good work for others - especially for the suffering and those not considered to be worth much - is a service of the washing of feet.” Pope Benedict XVI, 2006

Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not count the cost, to fight and not heed the wounds, to toil and not seek for rest, to labor and not ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

- St. Ignatius of Loyola
Until next time, Serve Faithfully.
Mr. B