Living the Gospel – September 9, 2018

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In an excerpt from, An Invitation To Faith, edited by Jean-Michel Coulet, Pope Benedict XVI states, “The person is the ‘measure of the dignity of work,’ according to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. For this reason, the Magisterium has always recalled the human dimension of the activity of work and has redirected it to its true aim…” p.101. All activity in work carries a dignity by virtue of the dignity of the person doing it – a person who is created in the image and likeness of God. The dignity of a task is not set by an arbitrary standard.

The work people perform or desire is most usually esteemed according to a societal evaluation of the work rather than according to the value of the person performing it. Certainly, to everything there is a season, but all work starts in and with the person and so continues. Every person’s eternal dignity establishes the dignity of the work; therefore, we are exhorted in Colossians 3:23 to do all things to the best of our abilities – “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men.”

Most reasonably then, if our work is given dignity because it is we who perform it, how much more should we simply and properly esteem ourselves and those among us. In Scripture, James tells us that we are not to assign others a value any lower than the image they bear. “For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while you say to the poor man, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” James 2:2-4

Let us not become judges who carry or persist in evil thoughts but people who know how to judge truly – firstly, as concerns ourselves and then others; that is, as children of God loving one another as ourselves and ascribing eternal value to our tasks, “knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ.” Col. 3:24

Don Alexy