Feast St. Joseph Worker

Scripture Reading: Luke 5:5-7

Today as we commemorate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, we renounce joblessness and laziness. The feast of St. Joseph the Worker was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955 in order to Christianize the concept of labor and give to all workmen a model. By the daily labor in his shop, offered to God with patience and joy, St. Joseph provided for the necessities of his holy spouse and of the Incarnate Son of God, and thus became an example to all laborers. “Workmen and all those laboring in conditions of poverty will have reasons to rejoice (hope) rather than grieve, since they have in common with the Holy Family daily preoccupations and cares”(Leo XIII). As we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph the worker/workers’ day, we are reminded that to work, to labour is divine, and to be jobless as a result of laziness is ungodly. Work whether intellectual or manual is not a punishment, we must understand work as something intrinsically good, we are co-creators of God’s world and work is part of our contribution, as such there is dignity in labour. Dignity of Labor means that all occupation, whether involving intellect or physical labor, deserves equal respect and dignity. No job should be considered superior or inferior. Every job that is dutifully done with honesty and sincerity deserves appreciation. Pope Leo XIII in RerumNovarum said “the condition of the workers is the question of the hour. It will be answered one way or another, rationally or irrationally, and which way it goes is of the greatest importance to the state.”

Child of God, do not be ashamed of your work or to undertake any good work that can put food on your table, knowing that all good work well done gives glory to God. Catholic Social Teaching holds that work is dignified and an intrinsic good, and workers must always be respected and valued. Jesus became “like us in all things, devoted most of the years of his life on earth to manual work at the carpenter’s bench” (St. John Paul II – LaboremExercens, On Human Work). Work must be undertaken responsibly and labour treated well, this includes how we approach the work we do, what it is we do with our work and how employers treat their employees. John XXIII – in Mater etMagistra said “[The state] “has also the duty to protect the rights of all its people, and particularly of its weaker members, the workers, women and children. It can never be right for the State to shirk its obligation of working actively for the betterment of the condition of the workingman.” “Where men and women, in the course of gaining a livelihood for themselves and their families, offer appropriate service to the society, they can be confident that their personal efforts promote the work of the Creator, confer benefits on their fellow men, and help to realize God’s plan in history” From our scriptural reading Peter had work all through the night without Jesus and got tired and frustrated, but when he allow Jesus into his fishing business and obey God’s word, his business began to be fruitful. Note when the harvest become great, he invited his neighbour to join him. This teaches us that when you have more than you need, you should build a bigger table not a higher fence. St. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 “Surely you recall, brothers, our labor and toil. We worked night and day so that we would not be a burden to anyone while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.”  Brethren we must work, no one should be idle, if no one employs you, employ yourself, God is willing and waiting to bless the work of your hands, we must be diligent in our work, we must not allow our work to hinder our relationship with Jesus, we must bring Jesus into our work, make your work a means of evangelization,.. Let us conclude with the words of second Vatican Council in the “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World — Gaudiumetspes”, n. 67 says “The lay faithful must accomplish their work with professional competence, with human honesty, with a Christian spirit”.

MASS: WHITE Acts 6:8-15; Ps 119:23-24.26-27.29-30(R.1b); Accl. Mt 4:4b; Jn 6:22-29

Prayer Points:

  1. Thank the Lord for this enlightenment through His Word today
  2. Ask for mercy and forgiveness for the times you valued goods and services over your workers
  3. Ask God today to purge you completely from every weakness and easily besetting sin
  4. Talk to God about those whose salaries and gratuities are being withhold
  5. Prayer for workers facing persecution as a result of their Christian faith

Exercise: Refuse to be jobless and bring Jesus into your work environment.

Meditation: 2 Corinthians 11:27