If you go to the website of the American Catholic Bishops today you can see a Labor Day reflection that advocates building up the American family by passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and Child Credits. “Advancing these two policies would have a profound impact on family stability, especially for families who are financially vulnerable,” We need to “ reframe social policies in ways that are pro-woman, pro-family, pro-worker and, thus, authentically pro-life,” Archbishop Coakley, the bishops’ spokesman, said.
“No woman should be forced to risk her or her child’s health, miscarriage, preterm birth, economic security or losing insurance benefits just because she requests a short-term, reasonable, pregnancy-related accommodation,” the bishops say.
The bishops’ site gives you a way to contact your legislators to advocate passage of the legislation helping pregnant women, especially women of color, who are often denied reasonable accommodations at work when they’re pregnant.
Besides reflecting on issues affecting our society, Labor Day is a day for reflecting on our own work. If we ask where Labor Day came from, we might see it way back when our world was agricultural rather than industrial. In many Christian societies, a day put aside after the harvest to give thanks for crops that were harvested and to pray for continued blessings. “Prosper the work of our hands, Lord, prosper the work of our hands.”
On our calendar till recently these days were called rogation days, when people would gather in their church and go in procession through their fields thanking God for his gifts from the earth and asking his blessing for the future. A procession is, above all, is a walk of appreciation. As they walked through their fields people saw them, as God did creation, good.
In a gospel suggested for today, Jesus tells us
“Do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Matthew 6:311-36)
Each day we have something to contend with, its own evil is there. But the danger we face, Jesus says, is not the evil but the failure of faith that evil can cause. Worrying about tomorrow stops us from appreciating today. Worrying about tomorrow can stop us from living today.
Besides reflection on our society’s social ills, Labor Day calls us to take an appreciative walk through our own wheat fields, through the place where we are, where we work with others and others work with us.