St. Joseph the Worker
Charlotte Chandler wrote a book entitled The Ultimate Seduction. It is about the attitudes of famous people towards work. When you read that book, two points will stick in your mind: many people work very hard; their motivation for working is not money. More often than not, their motivation is to make a dream come true or to make a better place to live in. In all this we are reminded of God’s work of creation. It, too, was a work of love. This is an appropriate introduction on the feast that we celebrate today.
Jesus is the son of a carpenter, Joseph; as a son of a carpenter, he learned the trade and used his hands to work. Jesus made labor an honor. He made work holy.
Today, as we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, it would be good to examine our attitude towards ‘work’. Maaaring matukso ang tao sa extreme o magkabaligtad na asal sa paggawa: maaari siyang maging tamad o magtrabaho nang sobra (workaholic). Itinuturo sa atin ni San Jose ang tamang pagtingin at pag-uugali sa paggawa. Joseph had the right attitude towards work: Hindi siya tamad – dahil siya ay nagtrabaho nang buong sipag. Hindi rin siya workaholic – di niya kinaligtaan ang ibang tungkulin.
Sa panahon natin di gaanong napag-iisipan ang dangal at kahalagahan ng paggawa ang attitude ni San Jose sa paggawa ay hamon at huwaran para sa atin. Sana ang tamang pagpapahalaga ni San Jose sa paggawa ay magmulat sa atin sa tunay na dangal at layunin ng paggawa. Nawa, tulad ni San Jose, ituring natin ito bilang siyang larangan ng pakikibahagi natin sa gawain ng Diyos na patuloy na paglikha.
Today we remember the people in the world who use their hands to do good. But how could we remember and honor the workers of the world in a more meaningful and relevant way? As Christians, we should be committed to ensuring that all people who are able to work can find a job that respects their human dignity and pays them a living wage – enough for them and their family to live on. We must ensure that people should not have to perform jobs that deny their dignity as a person created in the image and likeness of God.
Let us end with a prayer: Saint Joseph, help us to work for justice, so that all people who want to work can do so, and should be paid a just amount for their labor. Teach us also to work, the way you did… that is, to work with love. Amen.