In today’s gospel some people bring a man who was deaf and mute to Jesus and ask Jesus to heal him. Jesus takes the man off so the two of them were alone and he heals the man; his hearing is restored and his speech is again made clean. This is one of the great works that Jesus did in the years of his public ministry on earth. We too have work to do, many different kinds of work. Some may be in the form of sharing special gifts with others, some may be kinds of service we give to help others. It may be the talent of being able to work with machinery or instruments to perform delicate surgery. It may be the spoken words of teachers as they impart knowledge to student. All kinds of work!
Tomorrow we will celebrate what many people call the last holiday of summer. Officially it’s Labor Day, a day to pay recognition of the skills we use to support our selves and our families. Whatever our life’s work is this holiday is intended to give recognition to the dignity of our labor. Since this holiday comes at a time when summer will soon become autumn, it is the time when for millions of young people they will return to the classroom to continue their education.
This past year has been a very difficult for teachers and students as well. As we begin this new school year let us pray that the coming months will mark a real turning point and children will be able to go back to school and follow a more normal routine for the next several months. No matter what grade students return to, whether it’s one of the primary grades or high school, or even the beginning of college, let us pray for all our students and teachers that it will be a ‘good year’ for everyone.
I think back to the years when I was in school, even though it was a very long time ago I remember it well. As I look back on those years in the forties and fifties, I remember them as some of the very best years of my life. I hope you do too. I remember that during the first week of school in September we would all be marched over to church and one of the priests, usually the pastor, would celebrate the Mass in honor of the Holy Spirit. It was a beautiful tradition. As a priest I recall many times celebrating that Mass for the children in our parish school.
Let’s all of us, if we can, come to Mass some time during this first week of school and pray for our children, for the teachers and all those who work in education. That’s part of the work we can share in: prayer for our children, for their experiences this year as they learn and grow. Let us pray that they all have a healthy year. Let’s pray that there won’t be any bullies in school this year. God knows, we don’t need them.
There’s all kinds of work for us to do. No matter what we are given to do, let’s do it with a generous heart. May the Holy Spirit guide all of us in finding the right paths to travel and set the best goals for what we hope to accomplish. Jesus work was that of being a teacher, a healer, a redeemer and a loving Savior. And He has done all things well!
September is a beautiful and colorful month. Enjoy!