The Holy Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Piety so he can always joyfully honor God through his work and by growing in the Virtue of Duty so he can always strive to bless his family and others through his work.
Feast of St. Joseph the Worker – May 1 – Mt 13:54-58
Jesus returns to His “own country” (literally, “fatherland”) of Nazareth to reveal Himself with “wisdom and mighty works.” His townsfolk are impressed, but skeptical of the source of Jesus’ power, and ultimately, His identity. To try to understand, the people look to Jesus’ family, starting with His earthly father Joseph and his occupation as a carpenter, His mother Mary, and various kin. Jesus confirms part of His identity as a “prophet” and refuses to perform any “mighty works” due to the people’s unbelief.
Holy Scripture confirms Joseph’s vocation as a carpenter (Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3), a highly skilled craft, requiring an eye for beauty, practicality, and technical skills. 1st Century carpenters made lumber (cutting down and sectioning trees) and built homes and buildings (roof beams, doors, windows), fishing boats, tools for agriculture (yokes, ploughs, shovels) and furniture (stools, low tables, chests). The work was physically demanding, requiring significant strength and stamina. Jewish fathers were required to establish their sons in a trade; Joseph trained Jesus from an early age to be a carpenter.
To counter the movement by communists and socialists to use the May 1 International Workers Day to promote communism and socialism, Pope Pius XII established The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955 to refocus the world on the sanctity of work as demonstrated by St. Joseph, and to increase devotion to the earthly father of Jesus. St. Joseph offers the perfect model for workers: focusing on St. Joseph confirms all work is ultimately to the service of God; St. Joseph demonstrates the noble value and dignity of work in providing for the Holy Family; St. Joseph reinforces the importance of work for men and fathers; St. Joseph demonstrates the need for fortitude and diligence in performing one’s work; St. Joseph proves that a man’s work can be a blessing to the world. Pope Pius XII designated St. Joseph to be the Patron (father, protector) of Workers and exhorts all men to, “Ite ad Ioseph”: “Go to Joseph!”
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at the mystery that Jesus, the Son of Joseph, purposefully chose to grow in Human Knowledge by being raised by His earthly father Joseph who was a carpenter, allowing Him to also become a carpenter, an experience that shapes His Gospel. For example, Jesus: builds a Church, has incredible stamina and work ethic, infuses His teaching with practical examples (yoke, plough, house built upon rock, The Builder, etc.).
Joyfully honor God through your work
Realize: Jesus confirms God’s great blessing of earthly work by personally taking on many years of hard work as a carpenter (CCC 531, 533, 564).
Believe: Reflect upon the Blessings of a Man’s Work (CCC 378, 901, 1609, 2460) .
Pray: St. Joseph the Worker, pray for me to grow in the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I realize that God has greatly blessed me to take on specific work, and I honor God by doing the work He has given me to do with happiness and excellence.
Bless your family and others through your work
Realize: Through His many years of hard work as a carpenter, Jesus did His duty to contribute income the Holy Family and provided useful products to the many for whom He did carpentry.
Believe: Man’s Responsibility in Work (CCC 1914, 2427-2428).
Pray: St. Joseph the Worker, pray for me to grow in the Virtue of Duty/Responsibility (a part of Justice) so I bless my family by fulfilling my responsibility as a provider and I bless others by the useful work I perform for them.