How could I forget this memorable day, for seven years I have been a pro-labor activist, I have served as labor union president on two consecutive terms and have concluded two-CBAs, organized labor unions, assists research and analysis for labor unions within the Federation and visited picket-lines, joined street parliaments, attended international labor conferences before I became migrant worker, and I have been inspired on Lech Walesa's greatest contribution to Poland and to the world history.
"Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed." (Exodus 23:12)
Today we celebrate the grace of human labor. We were created to be workers, sent forth to “be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” God never envisioned his creatures to be passive and just soak up the atmosphere. We were created for a purpose, and it is the great project of our lives to figure out that purpose and embrace it.
Created by God, we have also been gifted by God, given talents of many varieties. Those talents and gifts are never given to us just for ourselves. We cannot bury them in a hole, but must instead reinvest them in the kingdom of God to bring honor and glory to God’s name. All of our work is intended this way, so that our own labors are a participation in the ongoing creation of the world, a participation in the mission that God has entrusted to his creatures.
The rich, elites and the capitalists don’t have permission to write off human labor as some kind of necessary evil or a commodity to be bought and sold. In the “industrial age”, men and women were often reduced to mere instruments in a society that emphasized “productivity” over the dignity of the human person, the worker. The “technological age” promised more “time” for leisure and freedom but sadly has failed to deliver.
Everyone must instead venerate all labor, that of our own efforts and of others. We as OFW must also vigorously defend the rights and dignity of our co-workers, particularly of the poor and marginalized. And we must always offer all of this back to our God who created us to be creators with him.
Happy Labor Day!
Happy Labor Day!
"Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee." (Deuteronomy 24:14-15 )