Work is an activity involving mental or physical effort done to achieve a purpose or result. One of our major responsibilities as children of God is to work. This is what the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker teaches us today.
In Genesis 28, after creation, God commanded that man must subdue the earth. In essence, Work is extremely important both spiritual and temporal.
The need to work gives the reason why many countries are more developing than others. The command to subdue the earth and work on it is a command God gives to every man whether Muslims, Christians and pagans.
The scripture says that everyone receives his reward according to His labour (1 Corinthians 3:8). So the more they work, the more God rewards them for their efforts.
So, when we work, we also fulfill the demands of our creator. The refusal not to work is also disobedience to God. Check the parable of talents. ( Matthew 25:14–30)
When God created man, He did not tell the man to go and sleep. He commanded Him also to work. Hence, when God appointed Joseph as the foster father of Jesus, Joseph did not abandon His work.
The gospel of today reveals to us that people of His home town know Him as a carpenter. In essence, the occupation of Saint Joseph is widely known, this proves that Joseph is a great worker.
A Little Historical Background.
The Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955. Before this, Russia with its communist ideals, atheistic ideas posed a threat to the recognition of God as Creator, Redeemer and Source of the dignity of works and workers.
The Pope established this day, to remind all that every work that we do is for God and hence must be done for Him. It’s also a reminder that there is dignity in work.
Hence, when we work, we fulfill a certain obligation to the Creator of work, we also fulfill our obligations as the children of God.
Pope Pius chose this day in honour of Saint Joseph. On this, Pope Pius XII reflects “The spirit flows to you and 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 the closest intimacy and community of family life and works. If you wish to be close to Christ … go to Joseph.”
Before, today is seen as a memorial or optional memorial even, but at the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis marked May 1, the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, by recounting the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth and was called “the carpenter’s son”.
On this Pope Francis says that “Jesus comes into our history, He comes among us by being born of Mary by the power of God, but with the presence of St Joseph, the legal father who cares for him and also teaches him his trade, Jesus is born and lives in a family, in the Holy Family, learning the carpenter’s craft from St Joseph in his workshop in Nazareth, sharing with him the commitment, effort, satisfaction and also the difficulties of every day”.
This reminds us of the dignity and importance of work. Therefore, work is extremely important for all Christians and otherwise. It is part of God’s plan.
The first reading shows that work began with God and handed over to His children. In Ephesians 5:1, Paul tells us “To try to be like God, because we are His Children”. In John 5:17, Jesus tells us that the Father is always at work and He is also always at work. (John 5:17).
The implication is that if He is always at work, we who are His children must also work. Through His work, God sustains His creatures.
Imagine if God ceases the air just one minute. Everywhere will crumble. Hence, if we truly want to sustain our lives and make it in life, we have to work. There must be something that you do.
Be Committed To God.
The Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker tells us that to work is to be committed to God. Prayer and work must go hand in glove. The truth about the Holy Family is that they are not wealthy but people know them.
An indication that this family is very known in the area, despite their lowliness. Despite their attitude, at least almost everyone knows Joseph and Mary. We can see how the people who come to the synagogue today are talking about them.
Despite how lowly and poor you are, never stop being good. Make sincere efforts and stay committed to God.
All through the days of His life, Joseph commits himself to God, to His wife and Jesus. He put all his mind and attention on the mission God sets Him to accomplish. If God tells Him to move, Joseph will never bother to ask why, He will just move. A life of faith.
The life of Joseph is different from the attitude of the Jews today who did not pay much attention to Jesus. And because of that, He did not work many miracles in His place.
Belief and unbelief have power. Joseph believed in God and obeyed whatever God said, and was saved from all that would have befallen Him, but the Jews today did not, and Jesus did not do much there.
If we believe, God can save us ( Mathew 21:22) but if we do not, we can lose our salvation (Matthew 13:58, Hebrew 11:6). The choice is ours to make.
Therefore, in everything that you do in life, do it with all your heart, do it for the glory of God, and He will surely bless you. (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Begin to Do Something.
Apostle Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10,” he who does not work let Him not eat”. We have to do something.
We know that things are very difficult but let us not conclude that they are and we begin to sleep. Let us always fight the challenges, and be like the ant who must find a way out of a stumbling block.
The truth here is that no one is born without a blessing. But most times, we have refused to put the blessing at work.
Some are waiting for manna to fall from heaven. Many are eagerly waiting for destiny helpers instead of working to be destiny helpers.
When God created man and put Him in Eden and provided him with all he needs, God did not tell the man to live there only to enjoy.
God did not tell the man to sleep from morning till night. He did not say “okay Adam you have everything you need, so sleep and do not do anything.
God blessed Him saying “I have provided you with all kinds of grains and all kinds of fruit for you to eat (Genesis 1:29, 2:9). He did not tell the man to remain idle even in Eden. God commanded Him to cultivate, work and till the garden ( Genesis 2:15).
Let us know that work is very important. When we work, we do not do it for ourselves only, we also do it for God. We also work to sustain God’s creation. Therefore, In whatever you are doing, ask God to bless your efforts. So, remain strong and never give up.