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Monday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings: 1 Corinthians 5:1-8; Psalms 5:5-6, 7, 12; Luke 6:6-11

My dear encountered couples:

As we celebrate U.S. Labor Day, we should not let the day pass without considering the value of what we do. Labor or work is defined as “physical or mental exertion.” Even the miracles performed by Jesus are considered labor or work. He exerted himself to bring about what was needed or desired. Though many looks upon labor as drudgery and therefore to be avoided, Jesus looked upon his as a joy, a pleasure which lit up the lives of other people. Isn’t that what our labor should do?

Whether you work in a supermarket bagging grocery, on an assembly line inspecting bottles, in a restaurant washing dishes, or even in the oval office of the White House dealing with the affairs of the world, your labor should help to light up the lives of other people. Your work then hopefully should also bring you some joy. For you are adding good where so much bad has messed things up.

Each of us has to see whether we are doing our jobs well or not. Do we just put in the time and get by with as little as possible? Are the products we produce defective or do we try to make them so they will last? Do we really care about what we are doing and the people we are doing it for? We don’t really know how busy Jesus was when he worked in Joseph’s carpentry shop. But we do know that when he entered into the salvation business, he worked overtime every day. Every moment was used well. He produced nothing but the best by his labors. He loved what he was doing and the people he was doing it for.

Though he did not necessarily feel happy at all times, the cost to himself was not his main concern. Carrying out his Father’s will and doing it well was his objective. At times he sought needed rest, privacy, and prayer. Though he probably didn’t get as much as most of us, he got required food and sleep. Jesus certainly is the example for us to follow.

But besides the quality of the service or product we produce, there is something else much more important. What your labor and effort do for your growth in character, for your maturing as a fine human being - that is what really counts. When you sincerely put yourself into doing what you are doing, whether the end product is of the finest quality or not, the quality of your personal self improves. You become better.

And that is what life is all about: your improvement, my improvement, and everyone’s improvement. The world of things will end. But we will live forever – somewhere. How we live and how we work now determines what kind of person we will be wherever we are – later.

And so, this is an important celebration. Our labors entered into and done well produce the best everlasting products — people of the finest quality fit to live with divinity. Through all your various forms of laboring you are perfected. Try to do all of it well. For you are really the product you are forming to last and live forever – the peace and happiness God wants for you.

As we celebrate Labor Day, let’s pray for our country. May God bring His healing into our midst, and help us to listen for His voice before we speak or act.

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