We stand on the threshold of a new school year. As a priest, each year of my life’s work has been an involvement in
Tomorrow, September 4th is Labor Day – the last day of the State Fair, the beginning of meteorological Fall, the last day of summer vacation for tomorrow it is back to school.
In some ways Labor Day is another New Year’s Day. Those with lake homes bring in the dock and prepare the place for the coming winter season. As a child I remember this time of the year as being the time for the fall house cleaning – time to put the summer clothes away and get the fall clothes out, time to begin putting the vegetable garden to rest, baseball season is winding down and the anticipation of football is in the air.
All of that is happening; yet the purpose of the holiday is to reflect on the gift and the challenges of labor. Our Church has a strong and continuous theology of work beginning in 1891.
In 1891 the Church taught that neither unbridled capitalism nor socialism advanced the common good.
Human labor is our participation in the creative work of God. God has handed to human beings the job of using and protecting the creation of the earth. We are to bring our energy and talent to the work we do. Work ennobles human beings and human beings are entitled to share in the proceeds of the work. Laborers are entitled to a just wage and working conditions that respect human dignity. Owners of production are entitled to an honest return on their investments.
Owners and workers are in partnership. When there is an impasse between labor and management collective bargaining is the means of negotiating a solution.
When a person is denied the opportunity to work, something dies within the person; we are made for participation in the stewardship of creation and the creative work of using the gift of creation for the betterment of all people.
Today we pray in thanksgiving for the gift of human labor.
Fr. Steve Adrian