This coming Monday we celebrate Labor Day. Sometimes we lose sight of why we have a “free” day from our normal jobs. For a lot of people, Labor Day means two things: a day off and the end of summer. But why is it called Labor Day and not the End of Summer Day? Labor Day is a day set aside to pay tribute to working men and women. It has been celebrated as a national holiday in the United States and Canada since 1894. It matters not what kind of workers: factory workers, professionals, farmers, housewives, or county, state, or federal workers. All people who work to earn their way in life have made this a stronger nation. That is what we are celebrating on Labor Day.
Over the last 150 years people have come from many different nations of the world seeking a better life. My grandparents were among those immigrating from one of the old Eastern European countries. The immigrants worked hard and found their dream–a better life for themselves and their children. One part of that dream was food. The United States had/has the ability to grow enough food to feed its own population and more. We may not be able to grow everything we have come to enjoy, but we would not starve if all the food coming into our country was halted. That cannot be said of most countries of the world.
Even with all of our social problems today, we still have a high quality of life by the standards of most of the world’s population. We can open our refrigerators and find foods in season and out of season. Foods grown here in the Midwest, on the east coast, the west coast, from Mexico or South America find their way to our grocery store shelves. The products we purchase in our stores come from all over the world. We drive to work in our air-conditioned cars, and we press a button to raise the heat in our homes during winter months. We turn a lever or press a button and fresh drinking water comes out of the faucet. Americans spend more money on entertainment throughout the year than most people make in a year. We also waste more food and clean water than most people have to live on throughout the year.
While we complain about the prices of food and utilities, we need to be thankful that we have the money to buy these necessities, because in many areas of the world, people simply do not have jobs to buy food and medicine for their
families. However, on Saturday morning I watched someone crawl out of our dumpster. We are beginning to see some of those realities here in our country as the number of homeless grows. Hopefully we remember to thank God for all he has given you and me. Regardless of how hard our lives may be, it is unlikely that we will ever be going through the city dumps looking for scraps of food to eat.
To all those who are retired, I thank each of you for your many years of hard work. For all who are working today I thank you also. In one way or another you are making my country/our country–this great land we call home–a better place in which to live.
You are invited to First Friday Adoration in the Chapel on September 6th from 6-8pm. Come and spend 30 minutes with our Lord