Twilight Twitches
fetscherTwenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time
Dear Family, 
So why is it we all take off on Labor Day?  It’s supposed to be the day when we honor people who labor hard for a living.  After a lot of hard work a day off, with pay, doesn’t seem too big a deal, does it.  The history of the labor movement in this country says otherwise, and a lot of folk my age  can remember the many labor-management  battles over the years.  As I was still chewing on the “Do justice” theme of last week’s readings, I thought about how long justice was coming for many workers.  Fifty-five years ago, my dad worked for Rodi Boat Company here in Lauderdale for a fraction of the salaries that John Rodi was paying  his workers in his Chicago boat yard.  The  difference was a union.  Union was a dirty word in Flor- ida in those days. 

Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894 in response to a violent railroad workers’ strike.  Six days after Grover Cleveland called out the army to put down the strike, successfully, Congress rushed  a bill through declaring the day to “honor” labor.  Cleveland was up for election so he signed it, but lost anyway.   Although the holiday eventually worked its way into the fiber of our national commemorations, labor struggled more than 50 years well into the Depression to bring about fair wages and decent working conditions, as well as bringing an end to child labor.   

I don’t think the history of the labor movement gets a big play in contemporary social studies   which is a shame, because maybe kids need to know that things they might take for granted in our own society were not easily achieved. …AND maybe it might cause them – and us – to look around and ask ourselves where today’s injustices might   be lurking.  You know and I know, it isn’t if they are lurking, just where.  I write about these things here, because that’s what “Do Justice” demands of us.  It’s a gospel issue. 

As I write, the final wisps of Erika have flown to the north. Fred is coming off the African coast.  I’ve asked Dad (Fred) to just keep pushing it into the North Atlantic to cool down and blow out.   

Last Sunday at 11:00 the young couple who brought up the gifts were visiting from Warsaw.  Martha and Pavel were their names.  I was feeling kind of bad that they didn’t have a lot of sun during their vacation but I hoped that maybe a little of the sunshine of our hospitality rubbed off on them.  Small thing folks, but that’s one of the reasons for the ropes, to corral you a little closer together.  Granted I didn’t know we were doing it for a young couple from Poland, but there you go: heavenly  surprises.  (We also had visitors from Singapore and Nigeria.) 

Someone sent me a column by Rabbi Marc    Gellman.  He’s the “God Squad” rabbi.  Regarding prayer, he said, “Prayer is about courage, hope and trust – the courage to face our burdens without  becoming bitter, the hope that we will not be forever submerged in despair, and the trust that even… death (is) a transition point along our souls’ journey to God in heaven.”  

I mention this because today’s scriptures lead us to the relationship with the One in whom we find courage and hope, and in whom we place trust.   Pope Francis quoted Pope Benedict in The Joy of  the Gospel when he said, “Being a Christian is not a result of an ethical choice or lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”                                                                                        
Labor to Gospel Joy with a picnic in the middle. 
May it always be,
In Jesus,
sign frjim

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