Readings of the Day (Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter) (St Joseph the Worker, Colossians 3:14-15, 17, 23-24; Matthew 13: 54-58)
54* [Jesus] came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.p They were astonished* and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?q 55Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?r 56Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” 57And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.”s 58And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.
Saint of the Day
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St. Joseph the Worker
Apparently in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955. But the relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers has a much longer history.
In a constantly necessary effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary human life, the Church has from the beginning proudly emphasized that Jesus was a carpenter, obviously trained by Joseph in both the satisfactions and the drudgery of that vocation. Humanity is like God not only in thinking and loving, but also in creating. Whether we make a table or a cathedral, we are called to bear fruit with our hands and mind, ultimately for the building up of the Body of Christ.
“The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Genesis 2:15). The Father created all and asked humanity to continue the work of creation. We find our dignity in our work, in raising a family, in participating in the life of the Father’s creation. Joseph the Worker was able to help participate in the deepest mystery of creation. Pius XII emphasized this when he said, “The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Savior of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work. Thus, if you wish to be close to Christ, we again today repeat, ‘Go to Joseph’” (see Genesis 41:44).
In Brothers of Men, René Voillaume of the Little Brothers of Jesus speaks about ordinary work and holiness: “Now this holiness (of Jesus) became a reality in the most ordinary circumstances of life, those of word, of the family and the social life of a village, and this is an emphatic affirmation of the fact that the most obscure and humdrum human activities are entirely compatible with the perfection of the Son of God....this mystery involves the conviction that the evangelical holiness proper to a child of God is possible in the ordinary circumstances of someone who is poor and obliged to work for his living.”
The 9-to-5 routine of the average workday can be a real grind—until you lose it. With a significant percent of the U.S. population out of work or underemployed, Saint Joseph is swiftly becoming the patron saint of all who seek to enter or return to the workforce. God blessed the idea of labor by engaging in it first: in the activity of Creation. Being made in the divine likeness, God’s creatures, too, desire to offer their contribution to the common good with meaningful and dignified labor. Pray to Joseph the Worker for those who seek, that they may find.