What can we do to accomplish the works of God?
In the last few years there has been much concern over the job market. While some states are still dealing with significant unemployment percentages, others, such as North Dakota with its booming energy industry, are at nearly a record low. Commentators have been saying for months that the unemployment statistics will weigh heavily in this fall’s presidential election. Since Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891, the church has emphasized the dignity of labor as one of the keystones of a just society and a well-ordered economy. Unbridled capitalism has never been an accepted goal in a theology that always seeks to uphold the common good.
In the Gospel for today, Jesus is asked by the crowd, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” after he tells them not to work for food that will perish. His response is that the work of God is to believe in the One God sent.
The workplace of today is vastly different from that of the past. Many businesses and employers have restrictions on what an employee can even have at his or her workstation. But there may be times when it is possible to bear witness to the faith even in the most restrictive of environments. Something as simple as wearing a discreet religious emblem, or sharing a story from church on Sunday, can gently open up a conversation about belief. That can lead to an opportunity to share more or even the chance to invite someone to come to church with you. A simple response like, “I’m blessed today,” to the question of, “How are you?” can help frame one’s understanding of life in reference to God. It is then easier share that approach to life in a non-threatening way with others. We don’t necessarily need big signs in daily life to promote our faith in Christ. But it is our work to do so in any way that we can.©2012 Liturgical Publications Inc