Labor Day is filled with many different memories and meanings. For many of us it signals the end of summer and all that is associated with summer. It is the time for the last fling outdoors. It is the weekend the summer home is closed. It is the weekend the boat is pulled out of the water and placed in storage. It is the time for moving from one season of the year to another. The holiday itself, “Labor Day,” gives us a chance to take a day off from work and reflect on the meaning of labor.
Labor, or the ability to work in productive and meaningful ways, is something we can easily take for granted. Our economy has not fully recovered from the effects of the 2008 economic downturn. Empty store fronts in prime spaces are depressing reminders of shattered dreams. We still hear of situations within our communities in which a company relocation or downsizing leaves mid-life employees out in the cold. This weekend we pause to thank God for the ways in which we participate in the act of creation through significant and fruitful work. And we pray for those who are looking for work at this time in their lives and for our guests at PADS on Monday evening. As is our custom on civil holidays, we will celebrate Mass at 9:00am in the church on Labor Day. Our school and parish offices will be closed in observance of the holiday.
One of my favorite “call” stories in the Gospels is the call of the apostle, Peter. John’s Gospel (Chapter 1) tells us that Peter’s brother, Andrew, was originally a disciple of John the Baptist. John points them in Jesus’ direction and his disciples begin to follow Jesus. One of the first things that Andrew did after meeting Jesus was to go and get his brother, Peter. He brought Peter to meet the Lord. Peter began his new life of faith with the invitation of his brother, Andrew.
It is amazing how this pattern is repeated in our own day. When I ask engaged couples how they met, many report that a mutual friend introduced them to each other. Someone else imagined some possibilities for them as a couple and then brought them together. God acted through the invitation. Or another example – when I interview potential seminarians for the Vocation Office, I ask when they first considered the priesthood. Many report that they didn’t even think of becoming a priest until someone else suggested the possibility to them. Someone else recognized priestly talent in them and asked if they ever thought of becoming a priest. That question was all that was needed to set the ball in motion. Again, God acted through the invitation.
The same is often true when someone takes steps to become a Catholic. We can ask when they first considered becoming part of the church. Often it is the example of someone else in their life. Someone else who was striving to live as a disciple of the Lord Jesus through the normal ups and downs of life impressed them. Or someone else sensed they were searching for something deeper in life or for a church home and invited them to consider our faith. All it took was an invitation. Someone else was like Andrew inviting his brother, Peter to meet the Lord and the rest is history.
I share these thoughts with you as we are in the process of planning for another inquiry series this fall. Do you know someone who is searching for that something deeper in life that our faith can offer? Do you know someone who is looking for a church home where they are welcome and can belong? Do you know someone who may be coming to Mass already but has not taken any steps to become part of the Church? Perhaps all that any of these people need is an invitation to consider the Catholic faith. God can work through the invitation. We will be holding an introductory meeting on Sunday, September 11th at 9:30am in the Lower Level of the Chapel. There are no costs or additional obligations. If you can be an “Andrew” in another’s life, please invite them to come to this meeting. If you would like us to extend the invitation, please call Leonor Carvajal at 529-3045. Or if you would like additional information, please call Leonor. Someone may be waiting for an invitation that you are able to provide.
Our Knights of Columbus Father John Guiney Council is hosting a “Blue Mass” at our 10:00am Mass next Sunday, September 11th. All police, firefighters, Sheriff’s deputies, Emergency Medical Technicians and rescue workers of all faiths are invited to attend and will have a reserved place to sit during the Mass. The “Blue Mass” takes its name from the blue uniforms worn by police, fire and emergency services personnel. The “Blue Mass” serves as a remembrance for all the first responders who died during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our country. It is very appropriate that we honor our local first responder heroes as we commemorate the 9/11 anniversary next Sunday. Local police and fire departments have been individually invited. All first responders serving in departments in the larger area are most welcome to attend. A luncheon and refreshments will be served following the Mass in the Ministry Center.
Pope Francis is celebrating a special Mass in Vatican City today during which he will canonize Mother Teresa of Calcutta as a saint. We often think of the saints as holy people from a distant time and a distant place, often with little connection with us. But Mother Teresa was a woman of our day and times. Many of us may remember when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Or when she came to the United States and spoke to the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1994. Her motto, “Do small things with great love,” can be our motto today. Her example inspires us in our own efforts to care for the poor and forgotten among us today.
Enjoy the holiday weekend. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy