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Friday, May 1, 2009

St Joseph, the Sanctifier of Work

By Francis Raymund Gonzales

Because of sin and disobedience, Adam has to drip sweat from his brow to sustain life in himself and that of Eve. Agonizing work became the trademark of the first scourge of God, and continues to do so in order that man may survive. Man must work to feed himself and all who belongs to him. This work is a constant burden of mankind from the start. It may gain riches, but for the Qoheleth, everything will be vanity and chasing after wind (Eccles.) Remember the key words, man must work for himself and for all that are his.

This agonizing work was sanctified by St Joseph, the Christ's foster father.

"Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit"(Mat 1:20), said the angel to this puzzled man. It is a task that Joseph now had understood. He has to take care of a family that will become his but not his. It is a double task, a task of being the guardian and supporter of the Holy Family, and at the same time, to fulfill the scriptures that Jesus must be in line with him, being a descendant of King David which lineage the Messiah has been promised.

Joseph is mum in all the Gospel narratives, but his very presence in all that the family undertook is a strong witness that Joseph is doing his task well. From the fleeing to Egypt to Jesus' founding at the temple, Joseph is there, not to aggravate things much further, but to enlighten it and securing it by his fatherly presence. He is being denoted as the "carpenter", and probably by this profession Joseph supported the mother and her child. This work was sanctified in the very trut that whom Joseph is feeding is the Messiah, the very Son of God incarnate, and his mother, the most sweet Virgin Immaculate.

It is no more the cursed hard work that God laid upon the shoulders of the first earthly father. It is a work that fosters grace and makes up to the fulfillment of the divine promises. Unlike Adam, Joseph works not to fulfill a curse, but to build the foundations and braces of the promise of salvation. Without Joseph, who will support Mary and Jesus? Who will protect them from the sand and the wind of the desert through their flight to Egypt? By Joseph's produce, that Divine body was nourished and made it to be that full body that is to be offered to the cross. Joseph became the biological support of Jesus, so that by food and every provision Jesus will live as a normal little boy, a normal man. "He has to be in every way like his brethren"(Heb 2:17) Yes, a man that had been reared by a poor family, has enough with little things they have, so that by this simplicity, he can save the nature of all men, the true nature that man is nothing and poor without God.

As a father, Joseph tells us a very special lesson: Do faithfully the task that you have been appointed unto. And do it always according to the will of God. Don't move, never nudge. Do what has been told to you, according to your ability. In the case of St Joseph, he had his work merited directly to the Lord Himself. He is the benefactor of the Savior in the making. He will surely not lose his reward

Most of all, he teaches us to love our family. He may not feel worthy to be a part of the holy family from the start. But now, he is, and will always be.

St Joseph, pray that may our works be offered to the Lord. And may these good works be remembered in the Divine tribune and be rewarded. Amen.

Feast of St Joseph The Worker
May 1, 2009

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