In the Ear of the Beholder
What is the difference between good and bad news? Sometimes it is not the news itself or how it’s delivered but rather in how it is received. The difference is not the speaker but the audience. It’s in the ear of the beholder.
When Jesus proclaimed "the good news to the poor ... deliverance to the captives and the searching of the blind" the people in the synagogue loved it. But when he reminded them that God had also loved and chosen those whom they had historically marginalized and hated, they wanted to kill him!
This Labor Day reminds us that God loves and cares for all people. Whoever we are, wherever we are, God has an interest in our work: in our homes, in our communities, in our offices and factories, and in our church. God especially cares about those who are oppressed and marginalized by their work—from the victims of wage theft to those who are trafficked for their labor.
Pope Francis tells us: "Work is a friend of prayer, work is present every day in the Eucharist, whose gifts are the fruit of the earth and the work of man."
When we gather around the Eucharistic table and ask God to bless and transform "the fruit of the earth" and "the fruit of the vine" and "the work of human hands," let us remember that work is not only a necessity; it is also a right, a responsibility and a gift.—JC