by Renae Bauer
I've had some less-than-glamorous jobs in my life. One summer during my early teen years, I spent my days tarring the metal roofs of brooder houses (warm huts for newborn chicks). Then, a few years later, I waitressed to help pay for college. I will readily admit I was a horrible waitress.
Both jobs taught me an important lesson: People - no matter how "menial" their work is - deserve to be treated with dignity. By the grace of God, I could leave tarring and waitressing behind, but not everyone has this option.
In Sunday's Gospel, we hear about Jesus' job or mission to teach friends and strangers about God. Oddly, it was his neighbors - the people who knew Him - who judged Him so harshly. In their eyes, a "mere" carpenter could not be wise in the teachings of God. And yet He was. Because of their lack of faith He was "not able to perform any mighty deed there." (Mark 6:5)
So what are we to learn from this? Here are my observations. First, in God's eyes each of us is capable of great things; greatness is not dependent on your income, your birth order, your gender, your age, your origin or your job description. Second, we are surrounded by teachers of our faith, from those who hold the formal role to those who teach by example. Third, each of us longs for some basic level of respect for what we do, whether we are immensely proud of our work or somewhat embarrassed or even ashamed. As my sister so wisely states, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."
What do you see as the lesson of today's readings?
Thanks, Renae. In my "second life" I learned that I could do a lot more than I had ever imagined. You're right: God's Grace does wonders!
Renae, you did a wonderful job with your reflection. The Sisters knew what they were doing when they hired you! I keep wondering what I am supposed to be doing with my life. Maybe it is a teacher of faith that is leading by example. Keep up your good work; you are blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful group of women.
Sometimes forgotten as our teachers, are our children. In just simple ways and in the ordinary circumstances of family life, they can teach important lessons. Like the Gospel, it only takes a faith-filled set of eyes to learn. Thanks, Renae.
Thank you, Renae, for the important lesson on the dignity of work and the worker.
Sorry I missed this last week - "each of us longs for some basic level of respect for what we do, whether we are immensely proud of our work or somewhat embarrassed or even ashamed" - that is the big lesson for me. I've been on both bad ends of this, feeling no respect or appreciation for the work I've done and disrespecting someone else. Luckily I've had a lot of practice on the good side of it too - recognizing the value of people who work for me or have provided me with a service...and getting respect at work for a job well done. It can make such a difference.