It’s amazing to think that this feast of St. Joseph the Worker is only a little more than sixty years old. And that it was not an original idea of the Catholic Church, so much as it was a response to very successful “Worker Day” or “May Day” celebrations in Marxist and communist countries. The communists and others were doing a better job of celebrating work than we were. May 1 is still celebrated as a Workers’ Day in many countries.
When it comes to St. Joseph and his defining qualities, the Church always seem to come late to the game. Joseph himself was an afterthought through many years of Christian centuries. And when you think of some of the things he stands for: the power of faith-filled silence, dreams and discernment, refugee life, an atypical family composition, worker dignity, well, these are still far from popular embraces in Christian life in their current applications.
The pandemic made us realize that we did not recognize the workers whose jobs are truly essential. The pandemic was and is a test to realize who and what is truly essential, and we cannot return to forgetfulness.
So today is our humble appreciation of those medical, emergency, delivery, grocery and other essential workers within our community.
In the name and the example of St. Joseph, our parish patron, we appreciate the dignity and importance of your work, and all work. We join forces with the work of God that gives us dignity and makes us similar to God. And may the “long work” of God in our hearts help us bring all the important attributes of Joseph to the forefront, so that we may more perfectly reflect the glory of God and so work for the good of our neighbor.