Friday, May 1 ~ Fourth Week of Easter
Saint Joseph the Worker
Holy Gospel: Matthew 13:54-58 Coming to His own country Jesus taught them in the synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
Meditation: The liturgy for this feast vindicates the right to work, and this is a message that needs to be heard and heeded in our modern society. In many of the documents issued by Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, the Second Vatican Council and Pope Saint John Paul II, reference is made to the Christian spirit that should permeate one’s work, after the example of St. Joseph, recognizing that all of our gifts and talents are gifts to us from God, and should be used to help build up His kingdom here on earth. In addition to this, there is a special dignity and value to the work done in caring for the human family.
Prayer: O God, Creator of all things, who laid down for the human race the law of work, graciously grant that by the example of Saint Joseph and under his patronage we may complete the works you set us to do and attain the rewards you promise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer to Saint Joseph for the Spirit of Work: Glorious Saint Joseph, model of all who pass their life in labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance to atone for my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my own inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honor to use and develop by my labor the gifts I have received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties. Help me to work, above all, with purity of intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must render of time lost, talents wasted, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, which is so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after your example, O Patriarch Joseph! This shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.
Contemplation: Worth contemplating on this Feast is a brief excerpt from a document of the Second Vatican Council “The Church in the Modern World” – Gaudium et Spes – which notes: “Throughout the course of the centuries, men have labored to better the circumstances of their lives through a monumental amount of individual and collective effort. To believers, this point is settled: considered in itself, this human activity accords with God’s will. For man, created to God’s image, received a mandate to subject to himself the earth and all it contains, and to govern the world with justice and holiness; a mandate to relate himself and the totality of things to Him Who was to be acknowledged as the Lord and Creator of all. Thus, by the subjection of all things to man, the name of God would be wonderful in all the earth” (No. 34).
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.