Monday, September 4, 2017

Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time (Labor Day, U.S.A.)

(I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Luke 4:16-30)

There was a woman at the office where I worked that responded in a striking way when I asked her how she was.  She said that she was thankful to have a job.  She may have meant two things by this response: that she had strength to work and that she had employment.  Today, Labor Day in the United States, is more a day off, the last of the summer holidays. It is a time to give praise and thanks for the work that we are doing. Jesus underscores this point in today's gospel.

When Jesus proclaims "glad tidings to the poor," he does not mean the destitute or the unemployed so much as the majority of workers.  In his time and still today in many parts of the world laborers have difficulty meeting family needs. Jesus is telling them that they no longer have to worry.  Their salvation is at hand.  The reign of God has come to see after for their welfare.

Work, of course, produces much more than money to put food on the table. Just as important, it gives us an opportunity to participate in divine creation. This may be readily seen in the efforts of builders, scientists, and artists, but it is true of all who labor. By cooking, selling, cleaning, and preaching, we make the world a better place.  By these activities we assist others live full and gracious lives.