Holy Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Joseph the worker on May 1. God commands us to ‘eat bread from the sweat of your brow’ (Gen 3: 19). Taking this command into his personal life, St. Joseph worked hard to take care of Jesus and Mother Mary.
Catholic Church has always respected the glory and dignity of human labor. Pope Leo XIII through his encyclical ‘Rerum Noverum’ upholds the dignity of labor as well as that of the laborer. Holy Father makes it clear that ‘all the works have its own dignity and through labor we are taking part in the creative act of God the Father’.
Son of God who took the human form began his earthly life in the work place of St. Joseph. This fact unveils the divine perspective of human labor. St. Joseph worked day and night for his family and turned his sweat into bread. From the life and example of St. Joseph Jesus realized that it should be the sweat of one’s brow that should be turned into bread. This realization must be the cause that prompted Jesus to defeat the satanic temptation of turning stones into bread or in other words to eat without any labor.
May 1 is also observed as the World Labor Day. Instead of bargaining for the rights and benefits this day should help us to make a step ahead in the realm of responsibility. When each one accomplishes one’s duties sincerely, the world will progress. When the laborers are respected, the gap between the haves and the have nots will be leveled. Pope Leo XIII reminds us that when we respect the laborers and give each one one’s due, all the works will be glorified. In an age where everyone searches only after the ‘white color jobs we have to realize that each and every job has its own dignity and glory.
How much meaningful is the saying ‘all works are good; but except one i.e. robbery’!!! One who does not do any work, loots the fruit of another one’s labor. And it is nothing but robbery. As we celebrate this world Labor Day let us realize that every work has its own dignity and greatness. Let the model and life example of St. Joseph the worker be an inspiration for us.
Rev. Fr Joseph Mundolickal CST