For where your treasure is there also your heart will be.

I like Labor Day, in fact I really love Labor Day because it gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we do each and every day, whether we do it as retired people, when we hop in our car or get online to go to work, when we go to school, or the work we do when we’re searching for new work, for a new job, for a new opportunity. It takes time it is a struggle. It is a constant effort to do those things and to do them well as a representative of Christ Jesus.

The thing we must be careful of each day and what is pointed out by God on this day especially, is that we cannot compartmentalize our lives. We cannot say: Well, it is 8 a.m or 7 a.m or if you’re a construction worker 6 a.m. Now it is time to go to work and I am going to do my work and that is going to be one little compartment of my life. Then I am going to drive home at the end of the day and that is going to be another little compartment. Then I am going to get home with my family and that is going to be another compartment. Then I am going to watch some TV and do some gaming and do some other things around the house that need to be done (maybe mowing the lawn or pretty soon shoveling the snow). That is another compartment.

As you have likely experienced, we tend to break things into ordered segments. The segments of our lives are ordered according to the schedule of our days. As such, what we must be careful of, and what God calls us to consider this day, is that all those segments must not be segregated from our work as Christians.

Bishop Hodur, in organizing the Church, was a great advocate for the Labor movement. Why? Because he saw the Labor movement as a reflection of God’s kingdom design. In Unions people come together to accomplish. He did not say: Well the Labor movement is going to do this and they’re going to do their work in this little box, No, he said Labor and the work of the Christian member of Labor has to be a consistent activity focused on the building up of the Christian man or woman, of their families, and all pointed to the building up of the Kingdom of God.

No, work cannot be segregated from God. Pleasure and time spent in relaxation cannot be segregated from God. Time spent in school, time spent searching for work, time spent shoveling the snow or mowing the lawn or caring for the garden cannot be segregated from God.

We are called by God to live a consistent and holistic life that is focused on the work of the Kingdom. If we do that, what Saint Paul points out will be accomplished in our lives. We will be building with gold, silver, and precious stones.

Remember, Paul is saying that a foundation has been laid in Christ. That is the foundation we are building upon in every aspect of our lives. As Christians, we do not build in some small Sunday compartment. Everything in our lives is meant to build upon the foundation established in Jesus Christ.

It is about how we build on the foundation. Some build with gold, silver, and precious stones. They put their whole selves into the work of the Christian life, not segregated or compartmentalized.  Other use wood (probably not pressure treated), straw, or hay.

When the DAY comes, and Paul is referring to the end times, all of that is burned away. What will be left but the gold, silver, and precious stones.

What is going to burn away is the work of those who compartmentalize and segment their lives. They are not all-in. they have built weakly, with straw and with hay and with wood rather than gold, silver, and precious stones.

So, our whole efforts, our entire work, everything we do is to be within our life in Christ and Christ in us. On this Labor Day then, let us reflect upon what we do each day and resolve to be builders for God, building with only our best.

Getting to

And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” — And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.

Tomorrow we celebrate Labor Day. Our Holy Church has a long history of support for the Labor movement. Our founders were in tune with the struggles faced by working men and women. They experienced the reality of exploitation by the powerful moneyed interests of our nation. Bishop Hodur spoke out for the respect that was due workers, for fair treatment, payment of proper wages, and a fair share of the profits they produced. He advocated for the same kind of democracy in industry that was part of our Church. All worked against selfish interest and for the collective good of the community.

It would be one thing to advocate for workers from self-interest as an ends, but we well know that advocacy for the rights of workers and for the community comes from and is centered in our love for Jesus’ way of life.

As we see in today’s gospel, Jesus’ healing takes physical form. He works to make the deaf hear and the mute speak. In John 9:5-7 we see Jesus again healing physically: “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam ” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.

St. Paul reminds us that we cannot forego justice toward the weak, the downtrodden, the worker. We are not to make distinction, but look to the collective good of all – because Jesus showed no partiality: show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?

Our faith in Jesus requires that we work faithfully for the collective good. We must be unafraid of working to renew the world – to help those deaf to faith to hear; to help those who fear proclamation to cry out; to open streams of the life giving waters to the entire world; and to show no partiality, treating all as equal before God.

Happy Labor Day


Almighty and everlasting God, by Whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified, receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before Thee for all estates of men and women who labor and seek justice for workers, that each in their vocation, ministry, and labor may truly and godly serve our society to Thy greater glory and his own sanctification and salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reflection for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Youth Sunday, and Labor Day


A call to be

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Today we celebrate a call to be changed, to offer ourselves to God in all we do, and in doing so to make His kingdom a reality.

How will we make this change real? How will we respond and get to work? What will we do to be transformed into people completely focused on carrying out God’s will for humanity?

Our Holy Church has designated this Sunday as Youth Sunday. Our youth will be returning to school. They will study and grow in knowledge so that they may take their place in society, contributing their work and effort – but to what end?

If their studies are self-focused, if they are taken up without due consideration of God’s call to be changed and to change the world, they will only make their lives small and self-serving. They may achieve earthly success, but in the process lose their souls. If however, their study and growth remain focused on God’s call to change and affect change in accord with His call, their lives will be glorious and complete. They will use what they have gained to come into union with God and to carry out His will. We must help them by our example, prayer, and support. Our duty is to continually assist them in realizing that everything they learn and do is a gift from God and requires a response to His call to change.

This weekend we also celebrate Labor Day. Our work and labor must also been seen in light of the call to be changed and change the world. Paraphrasing our organizer, Bishop Hodur: ‘The time will come when our heroes emerging from the homes of farmers and laborers will sweat and sacrifice not for kings or the rights of the privileged or a single class, but will battle and work for freedom and the rights of man. Let us gather and strive to be first in good and last in wrong. Then shall we bring ourselves, our nation, and the whole world closer to happiness and salvation.’

We are thus called to change ourselves and the world, to transform life away from the money-driven values of this world to the bringing of the kingdom of God.

We are called to make change real in the lives of our youth and in our lives. This is true worship: “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice” Do not live the status quo. It is not enough! Jesus put His body on the line for us. So we must put our lives on the line, changing them for Him and working for the coming of His kingdom.

A prayer for Workers Memorial Day

Workers Memorial Day is celebrated each year on April 28, the anniversary of passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. It is an opportunity to remember and honor the people who are killed or injured in workplaces, as well as a chance for people to recommit to making workplaces safer and healthier. Our organizer, Bishop Francis Hodur, strongly supported the aspirations of Labor and the Labor movement, but always with an eye toward God’s role in man’s work and striving. The following prayer for Workers Memorial Day is composed and offered by the Interfaith Worker Justice organization.


Lamentations 5:1-5

Remember, O LORD, what has befallen us; behold, and see our disgrace! Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to aliens. We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows. We must pay for the water we drink, the wood we get must be bought. With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven; we are weary, we are given no rest.


Throughout history widows and orphans symbolized the fragility of life, the vulnerability of people. Widows and orphans became metaphors for the struggle for survival in the face of unjust situations. But they were also tangible and real – neighbors, friends, or family members. Everyone knew a widow and an orphan.

Grant us memory of widows and orphans.

Often women became widows, and children became orphans, because their husbands and fathers died while working in the fields of the wealthy or building the palaces of the rich.

Grant us memory of workers and their families.

As society progressed, the workplace became increasingly more dangerous – machines moving at treacherous speeds, workers scaling higher heights and digging deeper depths. Every second of every day was measured, with ever-increasing expectations. And managers began to view personal interaction between workers as “time theft.” So, in the midst of this the widows and orphans still labor and have no rest. Unjust managers deprive workers of basic human dignity and contact.

Grant us awareness of the widows and orphans.

Stress in the workplace increases animosity and alienation among co-workers. Fewer workers are expected to accomplish more work. The pace is unhealthy. Whether autoworkers or hotel workers, expectations exceed possibilities for safe completion of the work. So, in the midst of this workers are still injured and even killed in their workplaces.

Grant us awareness of these injured workers.

Our prophets continue to remind us to treat widows and orphans fairly, to take seriously their circumstances when considering how we distribute our wealth, and to watch their interests in the halls of power.

Grant us the compassion and wisdom to be advocates for the widows and orphans.

Our prophets continue to remind us that we are to be the voice of those injured in their workplaces. We are to stand with those unable to stand. We are to raise our voices to protect other workers from the same fate.

Grant us the compassion and wisdom to be advocates for our sisters and brothers in the workplace.

Our calling as God’s people is to be hope for the world.

Let us fulfill the hopes of the widows, the orphans, the workers who are injured in the workplace. Amen.


Creator God, you formed the world and its people with your hands. As we use our hands, our heads, and our hearts in co-creating the world in our many and varied vocations, we are especially aware of our vulnerability and fragility. We suffer with those injured at the workplace. We mourn with the families of the killed and injured. But our mourning will be hollow without a change in our lives. Awaken our passion for justice for those workers who come in contact with dangerous chemicals, fast-moving machines, and long hours. And grant us hope. Amen.


A Prayer for the Unemployed on Labor Day

Almighty God,

As we reflect on this Labor Day in fellowship and in hope we call ourselves a people committed to following You to serve the well-being of others. We commit to one another’s dignity and welfare. We know that our creativity is a gift from You; and we commit the work of our hearts and hands and minds to Your service and to Your glory in all that we do.

We see in one another and in those whom we serve Your divine signature, and we honor it. We know that You are present among us as we offer this prayer in one voice to You, Lord God of compassion and mercy. We ask that You remain with us and strengthen us as we endeavor to ensure that Your justice is served.

We remember particularly today those among our brothers and sisters who are without meaningful and sustaining work, those who struggle to provide for themselves and their families. We ask that You guide us and grant us the wisdom to address the problem of unemployment and underemployment in our community and in our nation.

Encourage us now, Lord, as we seek to find solutions to these challenges. Lord, in Your presence and filled with hope; guided by Your grace we are determined to preserve the well-being and dignity of working people and their families across this country. Grant that we persevere with faith and hope, and in the sure knowledge that justice will certainly triumph. Amen.

Bible Study for the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time and on the theme of Labor

  • 9/2 – John 5:17 – Lord Jesus, You came among us not to be master, but to be servant. You came to labor in Your Father’s vineyard. You and Your Father stand with us as a co-workers. Grant us the strength to carry on in our mutual work.
  • 9/3 – Matthew 20 – Lord Jesus, grant sight to those who oppress workers and turn their hearts. Grant the blessing of work to all who are unemployed or under-employed. Grant that no one lord their authority over others, but that employers and their managers act with the generous and open heart of a servant. Grant accord among all workers and strengthen their collective effort for justice.
  • 9/4 – Deuteronomy 24:14-15 – Lord God, grant justice to all workers who have had their wages withheld or have been underpaid for their work. Open the minds and hearts of their employers to the decrees and blessings that come from carrying out Your Holy law.
  • 9/5 – Jeremiah 22:1-5 – Heavenly Father, guide us by Your Holy word and grant that all may abide in it, doing justice, righteousness, and delivering all who are oppressed. Provide Your abundant blessings to those who follow Your will, and bring back those who reject Your way.
  • 9/6 – Jeremiah 22:11-17 – Lord of Heaven and earth, grant that all may build upon justice and right. May no one build by unrighteousness, by making a neighbor work for nothing; stealing wages. Send forth Your Spirit to judge the cause of the poor and needy and grant them restoration. Set the ways of those practicing oppression and violence to naught.
  • 9/7 – Luke 7:1-10 – Lord Jesus, grant that all employers may act as the centurion, for the good of their workers. Grant that we may break down the barriers of class and nationality and focus instead on the good of everyone. Grant all workers access to healthcare and paid sick leave. Heal all those injured in their work.
  • 9/8 – Isaiah 58:6-12 – Lord Jesus, bring us to restoration and healing. Grant that all our work and effort be one with Your gospel By the justice we do may Your light may shine forth and our communities may become the home of peace, generosity, light, strength, and vindication.

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, bless our work and all who labor. Provide justice for those oppressed.