Happy Labor Day.
Growing up in upstate New York, Labor Day marked the final day of summer and the start of another school year. We celebrated it with a grand parade, family picnic, cool dip in a spring-fed mountain lake and evening fireworks. Although its original intent was to recall the economic and social contributions of workers, I always thought it was more a celebration of family and all things Americana.
What about you? How do you celebrate this holiday and how will your children or grandchildren remember it? If you don’t own a flag, perhaps now is the time to invest in one and to fly it proudly. If you ask me, summer swims, watermelon seed-spitting contests and barbecues are always a good idea!
That is the easy stuff. Are you up to a challenge? Think of what you can do to help the plight of workers who labor under less-than-ideal circumstances. Offer a cold soda to a roofer, give a larger tip to the waitress or simply take the time to know the maintenance worker by name. Our San Jose Home Makers would be glad to drop off gift cards, clothing and nonperishable food to our local migrant worker camps. Is it possible to create a position, even part time, for someone you know who is unemployed? Think about it.
For many, the American dream is still just that ... a dream. Perhaps this Labor Day we can help make it a reality. The San Jose Home Makers are in special need of pillows, sheets, blankets and fans. (You can drop them off in the narthex of St. Stephen Catholic Church – clearly mark them for San Jose Home Makers.)
As Catholics, we believe that work is not a necessary evil but an important way that we cooperate in the creative work of God. It lends meaning and purpose to one’s existence. That is why it is often so difficult for those who cannot find or who are unable to work. For us, the bottom line is never about the dollar, but about respecting the fundamental dignity and worth of each and every human person and encouraging him or her to develop to the fullest.
May God hear the prayers of all those who long for gainful employment or who feel unfulfilled in their work! And may God bless you during this holiday weekend. I hope you will enjoy quality time with those you love. May it be filled with the stuff wonderful memories are made of!
Growing together in Christ!
Fr. Bill Swengros, Pastor
August 31, 2012