Happy Labor Day!
This year before Labor Day, schools are open, it seems like we are more active, and society is more engaged and busier. It is an opportunity for us to pray for each one of us, our labor, and whatever we do. It is also a special moment to pray for our children and youth, who are going back to school. That’s their labor - study well. Let us pray for them, their families, teachers and so on.
Labor Day is the day we can be proud of what we do, and respect others for their great service. Pope Francis pointed out, "Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. . .. It gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one's family, to contribute to the growth of one's own nation." Happy Labor Day weekend!
During this ordinary time, I mentioned a couple of times that the reading focused on the formation of disciples. Today’s reading invites us to reflect on the cost of true Christian discipleship. In the Gospel of Luke 14:25-33, Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem. Luke says that a great crowd was following him. He knew his destination and was fully aware of the cost he must pay. It is a total commitment. At the same time, crowds expected him to liberate them from the Romans and regain control of their land. He would be their Messiah and savior. Jesus turned around and told them you can’t follow me unless you hate your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even your own life. We see in Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Here Jesus told them to hate. Did he really mean hate? It is an idiomatic expression of “to love less.” We read in the Gospel of Matthew 10:37, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Jesus is not asking his disciples to “hate” their families but rather to make him our first love. There should be nothing to stop us from the commitment to the Lord.
Discipleship is a serious commitment. Jesus says, “Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?” (28). We read in the Gospel of Matthew 10:38, “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” Since Romans used crucifixion to torture the criminals, Jews needed no explanation. The difference is that before Jesus’ crucifixion the cross was a sign of shame and rejection, afterwards become a sign of victory. Christ clearly instructed his listeners about the call to discipleship.
In the second reading, Paul wrote to Philemon from the prison. He was imprisoned not for crime but for his commitment to God. The first reading from the book of Wisdom reminds us that as a disciple of Christ, we need the gift of wisdom from the Holy Spirit. Wisdom cannot be acquired by human effort alone; it requires the correct disposition of humility and obedience. God gives us this Divine Wisdom directly in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and the Spirit empowers and instructs us through Divine Revelation in Scripture and Sacred Tradition. We need the gift of wisdom to understand God's way and live discipleship.
St. Anthony Daycare is temporarily closed.
As you know the daycare was always struggling to find enough staff. You might have noticed in the bulletin and website; my name was listed as Daycare director. Finally, this summer we had enough staff in our daycare. By the end of May, Morgan joined as one of the teachers for the summer. She is a college student and now she is going back to college. Stephanie joined us as director. This was her first time as a director. First place, she didn’t want to be the director, but I asked her to try. So, she did try for three months, and she decided to leave. Morgan, another teacher, is moving from Park Falls. Now we have only one teacher left. We were searching for teachers, but the applicants were not qualified. They were willing to go to school, but they won’t be able to help us until they finish the classes. So St. Anthony Daycare is temporarily closed. Thank you to all of the teachers, parents, and all those who supported our daycare.