Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FAITH AT WORK : May 1st - Feast of St Joseph the Worker

St. Joseph was an ordinary sort of man on whom God relied to do great things. He did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do, in each and every event that went to make up his life. - St Josemaria Escriva

(Gospel Text: Lk 10:2 - 12)
 He said to them,“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.

In 1955, Pope Pius XII instituted this feast day in honor of St. Joseph the Worker. He put the feast on this day to oppose the May Day military celebration of the Communist world. It seemed so foolish of Pius XII to bring up Joseph, the poor carpenter of Nazareth, to confront Soviet military might. Joseph seemed even less likely of defeating the mammoth Communist machine than David against Goliath. In a few short decades, however, Soviet Communism was shattered.

On this memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, the Church holds up St. Joseph as an example of a worker who let God have total control over his work. Many people move their families from place to place because of their work. Joseph moved his family from place to place because of his obedient faithfulness to God's commands. Each time he moved, Joseph had to go back to square one to start his work. He moved from his hometown of Nazareth to Bethlehem because of the census (Lk 2:4). Joseph placed a higher priority on serving Jesus and Mary than on building up his carpentry business. Joseph was a worker, but his main work was to have faith in his Foster-Son, Jesus (Jn 6:29). Working for Jesus took priority over Joseph's job. God then commanded Joseph to drop everything and flee immediately to Egypt (Mt 2:13). It's doubtful Joseph was even able to bring along his tools. In a new land, with a new language, as a foreigner and refugee, somehow Joseph had to find work and support the Holy Family. "All depends on faith" (Rm 4:16), and Joseph's work was completely guided by his faith (see Jn 6:29).

We shouldn't overlook the fact that the Lord used a “regular guy” to transform the world. St Joseph, the foster father of Jesus was simple, common, and an obscure worker.

Let us all never forget that our obscure lives and routine work can change the world too if we have faith enough to work for Jesus. The Lord is speaking to us: "Take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord, and work! For I am with you (Hg 2:4).

No comments:

Post a Comment