Posted by Fr. Andrew Young, St. Joseph Cathedral
This past Wednesday, the Church celebrated the Feast Day of Saint Joseph the Worker. Since our parish is the Cathedral of Saint Joseph it was a blessing to be able to celebrate with those that attended our daily Mass but also to begin what we hope to be an annual choral concert. It was a fine job by our choir and all those who participated…special thanks to Dr. Ostermann for all his hard work!
Saint Joseph is a model for each of us, both men and women, by his commitment to serving God through his self-sacrificing love for Mary and Jesus. Saint Joseph did not have an easy life, but one which required him to work by the sweat of his brow. One of my favorite images in the Cathedral is the rose window near the altar of Saint Joseph. In the center we have the beloved spouse of Mary, Joseph, who is surrounded by all the different images of men carrying out their vocations in their lives. It might just be my way of looking at this rose window, but in my mind, the image that appears directly above Saint Joseph, the one at 12 o’clock would be the pinnacle, most important. What is man doing in this image – working, hard labor! Saint Joseph was a worker and he passed this human trait along to Jesus who also was a carpenter like Joseph.
The work that each of us does has a purpose and it is not just simply for financial gain. Our work has not only a natural, human purpose but a supernatural one as well. When we work, we truly participate in the creative work of God, we join ourselves to Saint Joseph and to Christ, who both worked. But in doing this creative work, we also are able to provide a living for our loved ones, feel a sense of accomplishment in our lives, and contribute to
society by giving needed help to others. When our work loses the supernatural aspect or simply becomes a means for ourselves to benefit, we forfeit the chance of allowing our efforts and work to sanctify us and grow in closer communion with Christ.
Take a minute to think about one person in your life, and it could even be yourself, who loves the work that they do. Why? I guarantee you that if the reason they love their work is based simply upon their paycheck, vacation dates or luxurious lifestyle – they really don’t love the job. They love their work because they feel like they are making a difference in the world, they are able to reach someone, they are able to participate in the work of Christ by being Christ to others. I absolutely love being a priest! Why do I love this “work”? Because I am able to carry out the work of Christ, whether it be in baptizing a baby, preparing a couple for marriage, grieving with a family who lost a loved one, or hanging out with the junior high kids at O’Gorman – seeing both the natural and supernatural purposes – and making me a better man and priest!
Saint Joseph the Worker, help each of us to realize and come to know how the work that we do, no matter how ordinary, can be made holy, which in turn can make us holy and allow us to truly participate in Christ’s work of salvation.