It is fitting that we worship together as a Christian community on this Labor Day weekend. Because as followers of Jesus, we have all been called to be laborers for the Kingdom of God.
I went on retreat a few years ago and heard a priest say that the Universe is God’s family business. We might call it, GodandSon.com. And like most businesses its purpose is to produce an end product. The end product of this family business is the Kingdom of God.
As followers of Jesus we’ve been hired to be day laborers in that family business. Our job description was prepared by Jesus himself and can be found in the pages of the Gospel: in the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, the Works of Mercy and in his many parables.
That job description calls us to use our hands and our feet, our voice and our heart to build the Kingdom of God. And as Jesus tells us, that Kingdom is not meant to be in some far off heavenly place; it’s meant to be right here, around and among us.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who this weekend is being canonized a saint by Pope Francis, knew all about that job description. She walked the talk and lived the Gospel every day of her life. As a builder of the Kingdom of God, Mother Teresa is a role model for all of us. Labor Day is a good time for each of us to examine how well we are doing as a builder of God’s Kingdom.
Building the Kingdom of God takes more than piety and prayer. Coming to church and reading the Bible are very important parts of our Christian faith. But building the Kingdom requires something more. It requires that we listen to Jesus’ words in the Gospel and act on them; that we make his words come alive within all the circles of our life.
Building the Kingdom of God requires that we love and forgive unconditionally; that we live out the Beatitudes and the Works of Mercy - not just during this Year of Mercy but every year, every day. It requires that we treat every human being like we would treat Christ himself.
Building the Kingdom of God requires that we do more than just follow the rules. Those rules call us to reject personal sin and to be pure of heart and deed. But we are also called by Jesus to reject the structures of sin in our society; to stand up against the social sin inherent in neglect of the poor and the sick, in racism, and in bigotry in all of its forms.
Building the Kingdom of God requires that we respect the sanctity of life. We are called by Jesus to promote a seamless garment of protection for all life: to be vocal advocates not only for the unborn, but for the prisoner on death row, and the refugee fleeing violence and oppression as well. And as our Holy Father Pope Francis has reminded us, we are called to protect the life of our planet, our environment, and all God’s creatures that live within it.
As we go through this Labor Day and every day that follows, let us remember and rejoice that we are laborers in God’s family business. And let us follow the example of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and commit ourselves to make the world into a wonderful place, a place filled with peace and love, a place that will be known from one end to the other as the Kingdom of God.
Readers of this blog might enjoy these books by Deacon Lex. Both are available on Amazon.com:
Just to Follow My Friend: Experiencing God’s Presence in Everyday Life
The Gospel of You, The Gospel of Me: Making Christ Present in Everyday Life
Synchronicity as the Work of the Holy Spirit: Jungian Insights for Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Ministryhttp://www.amazon.com/Synchronicity-Work-Holy-Spirit-Spiritual/dp/1463518781/