Labor Day Greetings
Well, it is official. Summer has ended, if it really ever came this year. Many families were not able to take normal vacations, and for those that were able, these vacations were far from normal, with many locations requiring quarantines longer than available days of vacation. We are blessed to live in an area of the nation many people desire as a vacation spot, so we don’t have far to travel for a short get-away.
This year we had a very blessed summer. The crops had plenty of rain, especially early, and we were not scorched under a blazing sun as were parts of our country, and we were spared a damaging wind storm as they experienced in other areas of the Midwest. Now, we have a day of celebrating our work. This is more than just a three day weekend. It is truly a day to celebrate the dignity of work, what we do as men and women created in God’s image.
St. John Paul II teaches that in the ‘industrial age’ humans were seen as interchangeable cogs in the wheel of production, and productivity was more valuable than the human person. The ‘technological age’ promised more time for leisure and freedom, but has failed in this promise. Work has been profaned by sin and contaminated by egoism, and is an activity in need of redemption. Work needs to be rescued from the logic of profit and the fever of earning more and more in order to acquire and accumulate. Jesus was a man of work, and by working man realizes his own humanity and that of others, reminding us that life is more than food. And that work is for man, not man for work. In fact, work forms man, and in a certain sense, creates him.
Our celebration is not about the particular job we do, and we can even celebrate it if we are currently without a job, which is unfortunately the case for so many this year. It is about who we are as sons and daughters of God, and the dignity this brings. In our bishops' conference statement "A Catholic Framework for Economic Life:" the following is stated:
- The economy exists for the person, not the person for the economy.
- A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring.
- All people have a right to life and to secure the basic necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter, education etc).
- All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefit, to decent working conditions.
These are indications of who we are. We have a God who worked in creation. He sent his only son, who tells us: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” (Jn 5:17). The Cathedral in the Diocese of La Crosse is St. Joseph the Workman. The dignity of the worker runs deep here in the mid-west, and we are called upon to keep this in mind, especially on this day devoted to the worker.
May God bless you and your families as we celebrate being sons and daughters of a loving Father.