Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time (Labor Day)
(I Corinthians 2:1-5; Luke 4:16-30)
Today many young people prefer to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. A generation ago, most took the host in the hand. Some of this latter group probably had hygiene in mind, but others were thinking of the dignity of the human hand. We work with our hands – whether we are bricklayers or brain surgeons. In a sense work gives the hand its dignity.
We work so that we might eat, of course. But we also work to give glory to God by making the world a better place to live. In fact, the worthiness of one’s work may be measured by how much it improves society. This does not mean that those whose work is humble – an attendant in comparison with a technician – are not significantly benefitting society. Indeed, done with care, the work of the attendant may make a greater contribution to the human community than the sloppy performance of a genius. The labor movement has assisted in this effort by training and exhorting women and men to work with pride.
Jesus in the gospel is presented as a worker. We see him today returning to his hometown where he is known as the son of Joseph, the carpenter. The Gospel of Mark calls Jesus a carpenter himself. But he perceives a call to the most worthy work of all. No more will he be building houses. Rather, he recognizes that God, his true Father, wants him to proclaim God’s love to the world.