He
provides!

A bountiful rain You showered down, O God, upon Your inheritance; You restored the land when it languished; Your flock settled in it; in Your goodness, O God, You provided it for the needy.

Welcome and happy Labor Day weekend! This weekend offers us an excellent opportunity to focus on God’s provision and what we, as Christians, and as a nation, do with His provision.

Our verse of focus is taken from Psalm 68. Biblical scholars, those who slice and dice original language, verse structure, the paradigms that existed at the time something was written have often opined that Psalm 68 is one of the most difficult Psalms to understand. Yet to us, the ordinary reader, the Psalm seems pretty straightforward.

The Psalm begins with a prayer for God to arise, and recounts what happens to God’s enemies and to His favored righteous. As a result of God’s action, the righteous rejoice, they sing praises. God defends and provides, no one is lonely or a prisoner.

The Psalmist recounts God’s saving history. He praises God again saying: Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, Who daily bears our burdens. He calls on God again to save, to rescue. Confident in God’s rescue and provision, he again calls the people to praise.

We can imagine historians and scholars looking at the paradigm of our times 3,064 years from now. They would say that our times are the most difficult to understand. Yet the ordinary reader would say, it is not difficult to see what was going on. A nation of success and riches failed to provide avenues of advancement for its workers. Wages were stolen by the rich, justice was not done through a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of a nation. The people cried out, suffered, but were not heard by their brothers and sisters. Those who traveled from afar, seeking refuge were turned away.

On this Labor Day weekend let us begin. Ask the Lord to arise again to scatter and defeat those who work to thwart justice. Let us pray that this Labor Day will mark the rising of the Christian people who have a God of power and might. May our words and work be a bountiful rain. Let us restore the landfrom its languish. Following God, we “will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Getting to
work.

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

labor-day-eight-hours

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

Sacredness-of-Work

A call to be
changed.

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.

Volunteers needed

Once again, we turn to the parish family and ask for assistance in the liturgical and parochial tasks we share as a community:

  • Altar Servers- This ministry is open to all who have made their First Holy Communion. If you would like to begin training for this ministry, please give your name to Father Stan.
  • Lectors- This ministry is open to all adult members of our parish, including those who have made their Confirmation. Additionally, if you would like to enter into this ministry, please give your name to Father Stan.
  • Women’s Society for The Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament – We are always looking for more of our parish women to join this long-standing organization. We thank the women thus organized for their ministry thus far in the service of our Lord and to this Parish. Please consider this invitation.
  • Saturday Night Workers – We are entering into a new chapter in our efforts on Saturday evening. We could always use some extra help, even if you can only give a few hours between 5-7 pm. If you can offer these or a few more, please see Father Stan.