Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

March 5, Thursday

The Magis

Writing from Jesuit High in New Orleans, community service director Kevin Murphy links the Magis to themes from Psalm 116, suggesting that in serving the greater good, one finds freedom.


Scripture Readings

Sunday Readings - Week 2

GN 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18
ROM 8:31B-34
MK 9:2-10



A procedural note: our reflections and prayers will refer to the Sunday readings for the week, not the daily readings.

Daily Reflection

Service as a Greater Good
by Kevin Murphy

“O Lord, I am your servant…you have loosed my bonds. To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving.”

These verses from Psalm 116 resonate strongly with me in my role as the Director of Community Service at Jesuit High School in New Orleans. Each year, I have the privilege of steering roughly 270 juniors through their service projects. The project has three components: 100 hours of service; a reflection essay describing the effect the student’s work had on him and on those he served; and, finally, an interview where we discuss how the project moved him closer to Jesuit High’s profile of a graduate at graduation — that he be intellectually competent, religious, loving, committed to doing justice and open to growth.

Our students serve in a variety of ways, tutoring low-income children, working with the elderly, serving the homeless, reconstructing blighted homes and assisting the disabled. Some students even travel out of the country to perform manual labor in impoverished communities. These experiences make for fascinating essays and interviews. Although our students come from different backgrounds, have different personalities, and serve in different ways, their reflections reveal a common theme: They weren’t burdened by their obligatory service, but challenged and inspired. They saw and were troubled by poverty and injustice in their own communities. They experienced the common humanity in people who seemed different than themselves. They developed unexpected relationships that expanded their capacity for empathy.

The students’ experiences suggest to me that, as in Psalm 116, they have broken free of certain bonds — those imposed by the culture at large or, perhaps, in their own homes or social circles — and discovered new ways to connect with God and practice their faith. They have gotten a taste of serving others for the greater glory of God, and they want more of it.

Servicio como un Bien Supremo
Por: Kevin Murphy

“¡Oh Señor, yo soy tu siervo…tú has roto los lazos que me ataban. En gratitud te ofreceré sacrificios!”

Estos versos del Salmo 116 resuenan fuertemente en mí y en mi desempeño como Director de Servicio Comunitario en el Colegio Secundario Jesuita en Nueva Orleáns. Cada año tengo el privilegio de dirigir los proyectos de trabajo de aproximadamente 270 alumnos. El proyecto está compuesto de tres partes: 100 horas de servicio; un ensayo describiendo el efecto que provocó este servicio en el estudiante y en los que han sido servidos; y finalmente una entrevista donde discutimos de que manera el proyecto acercó al estudiante al perfil de un graduado del Colegio Secundario Jesuita — que sea competente intelectualmente, religioso, caritativo, comprometido con la justicia y abierto al crecimiento.

Nuestros estudiantes sirven en una variedad de formas; tutores de niños de bajos recursos, trabajando con ancianos, sirviendo a los desahuciados, reconstruyendo casas arruinadas y asistiendo a los discapacitados. Algunos estudiantes viajan fuera del país para realizar trabajos manuales en comunidades empobrecidas. Estas experiencias producen ensayos y entrevistas fascinantes. Aunque nuestros estudiantes vengan de culturas diversas, tengan personalidades diferentes y sirvan de maneras variadas, sus reflexiones revelan un tema en común: Ellos no han sentido el peso del servicio obligatorio, lo han vivido como un desafío y un motivo de inspiración. Ellos vieron y se sintieron abrumados por la pobreza e injusticia en sus propias comunidades. Experimentaron la humanidad en común con gente que parecía diferente a ellos. Establecieron relaciones inesperadas que expandieron sus capacidades de empatía.

Las experiencias de los estudiantes me sugieren, como el Salmo 116, que ellos han roto los lazos que los ataban — los impuestos por la cultura en general, o tal vez los de sus propios hogares o círculos sociales — y descubrieron formas nuevas de conectarse con Dios y practicar la fe. Ellos han saboreado lo que significa servir a los demás para mayor gloria de Dios, y ellos quieren más.

Kevin Murphy serves as the director of community service at Jesuit High School in New Orleans. He organizes the school's annual Thanksgiving Drive and guides students in their volunteer activities. He also teaches world geography to pre-freshmen.


I know you are out there,
waiting to break my heart open
through service to your people.
Show me how to find you in them,
to open my heart and hands to feel and to touch,
to laugh and to cry with your chosen ones, the poor,
who carry with them direct pathways to your loving heart.
Give me a taste for service
so that I too might desire more
and more.


I hold that every poor man, every vagrant, every beggar is Christ carrying his cross. And as Christ, we must love and help him. We must treat him as a brother, a human being like ourselves. If we were to start a campaign of love for the poor and homeless, we would, in a short time, do away with depressing scenes of begging, children sleeping in doorways and women with babies in their arms fainting in our streets.
: St. Alberto Hurtado, SJ

Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.
: Marian Wright Edelman

The laborers in the Lord’s vineyard should have one foot on the ground, and the other raised to proceed on their journey.
: Ignatius Loyola

L. Meque


Scene from THE FISHER KING (1991)

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