Isn’t interesting that this pops up in the lectionary the day after the Michigan legislature passed the “Right to Work” laws. “Right to Work” laws are an oxymoron in and of themselves. They really mean “Right to treat workers any way you want without having to worry about unions” laws.
The Interfaith Workers Justice reflection for this week said this:
In many ways we are living (like the Israelites in Malachi) after experiencing presidential elections and waiting for the many changes to come in Capitol Hill. Also after facing natural disasters in the East Coast – it sets a very transitional tone not only affecting our country but those around the world as well.
At this time we are also questioning God’s love and justice. All we have to do is look at the difficulties that workers face, many earning wages so low that they can’t even afford to pay for basic necessities like food and shelter. There is an increasing number of people, for example, showing up at food pantries around the country because they don’t make enough to pay for food. Many times these workers also have limited health insurance benefits or no health insurance at all. We can also take a look at homeless and unemployment statistics showing high numbers.
(Malachi) talks about a messenger, someone who would come “to prepare the way” of the Lord. As we enter into the Advent season, how are we preparing for such a significant event? Are we keeping the commandments? Are we leaning towards those who are oppressed? How are we helping those workers earning low wages? What are we doing for our neighbors? In these verses the prophet challenges us to reflect if we are truly ready to “endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?” Are we pleasing offerings to the Lord by what we have accomplished?
Remember, Paul says in the text for today
…we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, …esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
Apparently, respect for workers is a requirement for peace, both at home and abroad.