Rev. Chava’s Labor Day Reflections and Rev. Judy’s Commentary
We join Rev. Chava Redonnet in affirming all those who labor with little reward for their labors so that we all may live.
We also affirm the life all around us that keeps pushing forward despite tragedy and death.
On Saturday Pastor Judy Beaumont and I traveled to Tampa to visit a woman in her late eighties who survived her only daughter over three years ago. Miriam continues to grieve Nancy,a wonderful Christian preacher, teacher,social worker, mother and daughter who died suddenly of advanced diabetes. Nancy and her family became friends with us when she studied Master’s level social work with me at the University of Connecticut starting in 1985. Over the years we became extended family for one another. Miriam is still reeling from the loss of Nancy although she finds the good in life and holds on to it. She is looking forward to the birth of a second great grandchild. Yet, she is praying to get into an Assisted Living residence where she would not have to be alone and have the assistance she needs given her aging and physical illnesses and forgetting. Her days are lonely and she finds it hard to cook or eat alone. But her nights are full of fears. Miriam is bilingual but lapses into her mother tongue Spanish as she tells us about her nights of horrors. Her low income means a complicated and long wait. We are praying and working to find a speedy respite for this frail but hopeful woman.
It is significant that the Scriptures for this day include Jesus’ call to bring good tidings to the poor (Luke 4:16-30). As we follow Jesus is this not our call as well? Here is a woman who worked hard her whole life as a sewing factory worker and tailor while a single Mom yet she does not have enough income to easily access the level of care that she needs. On this Labor Day I recognize her labor and that of all those who barely survive yet work hard. I struggle with how we can find ways to support the changes that would guarantee this woman and those like her an old age that is free of fear and replete with adequate resources and supports.
A prayer for this Labor Day is that Jesus’ call to bring glad tidings to the poor throughout the world will be answered by dedicated servants like Rev. Chava Redonnet who serves the migrant workers in New York and Rvda. Sanchez-Mejia who serves the community of Afro-descendents in Colombia and all of the Street Ministers in Ecclesia Street Ministries who serve the homeless and at risk in the USA including our Good Shepherd Ministries, and all who make efforts in various ways to bring glad tidings to the poor and who stand with them as they seek justice.
Rev. Chava’s Labor Day Reflections
Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church Bulletin for Sunday, August 31, 2014
Last night as I was driving out to the casita for the Migrant Mass, I took
a shortcut that Librada showed me once. It led through onion fields – all
around, everywhere but on the road itself, were onions, onions, onions.
Those fields were pregnant with onions ready to harvest.
Across the street from Santiago’s house is a huge field of cabbage – the
field is about as big as my whole city neighborhood. He and his companions
planted that cabbage, and all summer we have watched them grow. Now there
are thousands and thousands of gorgeous, enormous cabbages.
The corn is ripe, too. This week Santiago showed me how to tell the
difference between a field of corn that’s for human consumption (elote) and
a field of corn for cows (maize). There’s a difference in the tassels that
you can’t miss once you know what to look for.
My yard is also full of abundance. I can’t keep up with the tomatoes this
year! – and have shared more than a few with some passing animals. There’s
more than enough to go around.
In our part of the world it feels like an explosion of life. Carl Sandburg
said once that “a baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” In
the midst of all the sad news, the worrisome news, the sometimes scary news
– look at the harvest. Look at the life, teeming around us. I think that’s
an expression of God’s opinion, as well. Life, holy life, is all around us.
And as we prepare to celebrate Labor Day, think of the hands that planted
and tended that harvest, that are picking and packing it now. At dinner
each night I pray that God will bless “all the hands that brought this food
to our table.” Last week Santiago said he wanted to say grace. He had an
addition to my prayer. He said, “Bless all the hands that brought this food
to our table, most of them illegal.”
May we have a Harvest of Justice: abundant and overflowing with life, for
This weekend we will celebrate the first wedding in our migrant community.
Please join me in wishing Constantino and Cassandra well. Another sign of
life and God’s great goodness!!
Love to all
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph’s House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620
A member community of the Federation of Christian Ministries