On May 1st the Church remembers St Joseph, husband of Mary, under the title “St Joseph the Worker”.
In 1955, Pope Pius XII instituted the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, adding to the age-old celebration of Joseph as the Spouse of Mary, on March 19. Communist leaders across the world celebrate 1 May, known as ‘May Day,’ in honour of workers. Joseph is presented in the Gospels as someone who worked with his hands (Mark 6:3), and the Church wished to indicate that work is not only associated with productivity, but also with holiness.
St Joseph the Worker (Icon), John Richards, 2020
Used with permission.
GOSPEL: JOHN 14:7-14
If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus regularly speaks of his mission as ‘the work’ given to him by his Father. He completes this ‘work’ by the many ‘works’ that he performs. In today’s Gospel Jesus asks that we recognise God’s presence among us in his work. Amazingly, he tells us that those who believe in him in this way will do even greater works. The ‘work’ of the believing Christian continues to make known the goodness and love of God for humankind.
From Pray as You Go
The work that we do can be a prime way of using the creativity that God has given us. So today in prayer you’re invited to review the work you do. So start by thinking how you’d describe your work to a new acquaintance.
What’s been the best thing about the work that you’ve done recently? What made that stand out for you?
And where have you found work most difficult or challenging?
Is there some aspect of your work that helps make the world more as God would want it to be?
Can you pick out one time in the last week or two when you can imagine God looking at your work, and saying “That is very good!”?
And looking forward to the next week or so, what do you most need from God in your working life?
Or what is there in your working life that you most want to thank God for? Take this last moment or two to thanks God for what you need, or to thank God for what you’re been given.
Litany of St Joseph
You may like to finish by praying this Litany of St Joseph from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
More Resources for the Year of St Joseph
Julia Bridget Lynch (Sister Mary Lawrence, RSM)
Image provided by St James School, Palmerston North.