Today’s scripture readings exhort us to practice both humility and generosity in our daily lives. In humility we acknowledge that we are ultimately dependent upon God for everything: everything is a gift. God’s gifts are not to be hoarded, but shared and employed for the good of all. This is what Jesus teaches his host in today’s Gospel when he encourages him to invite to dinner those who cannot repay him by inviting him back.
Each week we are invited to the banquet which God provides for us: the Holy Eucharist. The word “eucharist” comes from the Greek word εὐχαριστεῖν (eucharistein) meaning, “to give thanks.” This should be our basic attitude when we come to worship God. The scripture readings these past several Sundays have warned us against counting too much on material possessions. The things that mean the most to us should be the things that really last—and those are the things that come from God. For these we must be grateful. The heart of the Mass, the Eucharistic Prayer, is fundamentally a prayer of thanksgiving: “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right and just.” Finally we are sent forth from the eucharistic banquet, fortified with the flesh and blood of Christ and the grace of the sacrament, to share what we have received, to “go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” Even then our final word is one of gratitude: “Thanks be to God.”
The St. Francesca Resource Center at Notre Dame, Agnes Table in Chippewa Falls and Sojourner House in Eau Claire are some ways we share with those who may not be able to repay us. Parishioners and others in our community use these means to give assistance to needy members of our community. While some are eventually able to repay the assistance they have received, most cannot. In today’s Gospel Jesus says: “Blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Thanks to all who support these vital ministries.
Labor Day weekend is the symbolic end of summer. Do not forget to come to Mass on Monday, Labor Day, to ask God’s blessing upon all our endeavors. The Mass on Monday is at 8:30 AM at St. Charles with no evening Mass that day. Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. First observed in 1882, it has been a national holiday since 1894. Although the nature and fortunes of American labor have changed much during the intervening years, creativity and ingenuity continue to be its hallmarks.
Pray the rosary this week for a successful academic year. Pray for people who are unemployed or disabled, and who have a difficult time making a livelihood for themselves and their families. Pray for the safety of all traveling on this holiday weekend. Pray for people serving in the armed forces from our community and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.