The prophet Jeremiah got exasperated with God:
“You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.”
On this Labor Day weekend, it’s important to remember that work isn’t simply what we do for money. It’s also the task of living our lives in a right and just manner, in a way that is good for all people.
It’s risky, of course, to live an ethical life rather than doing what’s convenient or comfortable or profitable. In doing so, you often bump heads with people who have other priorities — your business partner who wants to make an extra buck by cutting corners, your friends who think you’re ridiculous for being willing to pay higher taxes to provide assistance to the needy, your co-worker who tells racist jokes.
If I am in one of those situations, I have to either cave in to peer pressure, or stand on my own two feet — and take a chance on becoming “an object of laughter.”
If I have ethics and have beliefs that shape the way I live my life, I will be known as a stand-up person. Someone who can be trusted. A person of integrity. That’s a great reputation to win. But I have to earn it. And it’s much easier for me to do that if I surround myself with people with a strong sense of justice and an ethical backbone.
That’s what the St. Gertrude parish is for me. It’s a community of like-minded people who are committed to doing the right and just thing. We are examples to each other. And we are supports for each other.
And, if we’re going to be “objects of laughter”…well, we’re in it together.
Patrick T. Reardon