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Laborers in the Vineyard ( Thu Sep 1, 2005  8:27 am )
by Christine M. Roussel

Monday, September 5th, is Labor Day. Aside from being the traditional end of summer, the day after which the pace of our lives is supposed to return to "normal" from the somewhat more relaxed and forgiving tempo of summer, it is also, intentionally, a day designed to make us pause and think as well as barbecue.

We are all laborers. In Genesis we read Adam was told by God that, as punishment for disobediently eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he would be thrown out of the Garden and go to work: henceforth, he would earn his food by the sweat of his brow (Genesis 3:17-19). The Gospel puts it a little more poetically, referring to laborers in the vineyard of a generous Lord (Matt. 20:1-16). We, the People of God, are indeed all laborers in the vineyards: God's world and his - and, by birthright, our - Church.

Our Christian labors are different and varied. Some are public and of great courage and risk, like a Cindy Sheehan who dares to call the President of the United States to account for the war that killed her and so many other mothers' children. Others are quieter and less noted, like parish volunteers who give of themselves to work with youth, the elderly or service groups of all kinds. Still others are more modern or novel, like those who spend hours and days working at their computers writing and ferrying news and ideas in ever-increasing circles of cyber correspondents.

No matter how we labor, the important thing is that we do, day by day, action by action, work to build up and bring to full fruition the world and Church that God has entrusted to us - to us because we are both the laborers and the temporary proprietors of the vineyards.

May this Labor Day refresh and renew us for the work ahead.

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