Homily for Mass, Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa

[Readings: Gen 1:26 – 2:3;  Ps 90;  Mt 25:14-30]

The dignity of human labour was a theme close to the heart of Blessed John Paul II.  He issued an encyclical titled “On human work” in 1981.  By our work, whatever form it might take, we share in a special way in the work of Jesus Christ.  The Council Fathers of Vatican II said, “For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every [person].  He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart.  Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin” (GS 22).

For Jesus, his whole life and mission was his work.  He said that he was always doing the work of His Father.  In all the ‘work’ Jesus did, he was constantly united with His Father.  He was continuing the work of creation, and accomplishing the redemption and sanctification of humankind.

Whatever work we do, therefore, if done in union with Jesus, also participates in God’s work of creating, redeeming, and sanctifying – ourselves, and the whole world.  Therefore we can speak about the dignity of our work.  Our work is not just meant to make us cogs in the economic machinery, and it shouldn’t just be seen as a means to accumulate goods and possessions.  It has a bigger purpose.

John Paul II taught: Jesus, The “divine Worker of Nazareth” also “reminds us that ‘life is more than food’ and that work is for man, not man for work. What makes a life great is not the entity of gain, nor the type of profession, or the level of the career. Man is worth infinitely more than the goods he produces or possesses.”

On this labor day let’s rejoice that through the work that God gives us to do each day we have a means of sharing in the work of Christ.  May everything we do or say be in the name of the Lord with thanksgiving to God [Communion ant.] and may the Lord give success to the work of our hands [Entrance ant].

See also my other post for Labour Day.