The earthquake that struck central Italy at 3:30 AM, was one of the most devastating earthquakes. Three towns were destroyed in the Province of Umbria. The death toll keeps climbing as they discover more bodies as the rubble is removed. The reasons for the extensive destruction are the earthquake was closer to the surface, and the housing was not reinforced. Amitricia and the other towns are old cities, and as such, the housing tends to be older. The closer to the surface of the earthquake, the more destructive. The pictures on the news and in the papers show towns wiped out, and people’s lives radically changed. UNICO National has begun a drive to help the people of Italy, so all of the chapters will be asked to help in this appeal. As divisive as countries can be at times, when disasters strike, they somehow pull together. The best we can do right now is to keep the people of Umbria in our prayers.

Tomorrow is Labor Day. It’s the unofficial end of summer, but more importantly, it ends vacations for the children as they return to school this week. But Labor Day was started to recognize the working men and women, and to reinforce for us the ethic of work. In the initial days of the labor unions, the beginnings of the AFL and CIO, as two separate organizations, before they became joined, a man named Samuel Gompers helped to strengthen the labor unions. He wanted the people of America to recognize the value of human labor and how it contributes to the welfare of our country.

Today’s Gospel is rather interesting because it seems that Jesus is telling us to forget our families and all we have. Just the contrary is true. He is reminding us that while our families are important, for without them we have no meaning, they are not to distract us from our relationship with God and all he calls us to be and to as followers of the Lord. For Jesus, his relationship was primary in his life, and this relationship was reflected in everything he said and did. This relationship with the Father motivated him to help bring the Kingdom of God closer to the people he met.

Our relationship with God should also motivate us to live faithfully to the call of the Lord. But it should also help make us better members of our families, recognizing the importance of each person as a gift from God. This will then carry over into all our relationships and all the activities in which we are involved. For Jesus, proclaiming the Kingdom was important, and he tried to impress that upon his apostles. It is now our responsibility to do the same. But that is difficult to do if we are distracted by all we have or all we have to do. Sometimes, we fail to recognize the fact that whatever we do helps to promote the Kingdom of God and to bring Jesus a little closer to the lives of the people we meet each day.

REMINDER: As school is now open, please be attentive to children walking to and from school. Sometimes, if there is no crossing guard, they don’t pay attention to the traffic lights or the traffic. Since they may not pay attention, we have to! They need to enjoy the school year, and we can help them by watching out for their safety.

HAPPY LABOR DAY!!!

~ FR. JOE!

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