Homily: Fr. Anton – St. Joseph the Worker – 05/1/20

Here are Fr Anton’s reflections at Eucharist this morning, thought you may enjoy them. May St Joseph help us all these days with so much economic stress going on. 
Peace and blessings,

Introit: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;  Enter into the joy of your lord.’    Alleluia!

65 years ago,  Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker,a response to “May Day” celebrations for workers  sponsored by the Communists.
Saint Joseph:  the man who raised Jesus, at whose side Jesus learned the carpenter’s trade, a Christian example of the holiness of human labor.
Tragically, “work” is a hot, painful topic  today.
Some people are afraid to go to work,
some are looking to work, but caught in a lock-down, others work from home, or work only part-time, or work with masks on.
Some have no jobs to go back to.
In almost all homes, workers are living with financial problems and stress and uncertainty.
We believe that prayer is a tangible way to help,  so we’ve promised to join our prayers to theirs, to show love and support for our families, friends, neighbors, our layworkers.
Let us now lay out  our intentions as we ask God’s mercy!
Lord God, in six days you created from nothing  the heavens and the earth and all they contain, and you saw that it was good, Lord have mercy!
Christ Jesus, in one tremendous work of love, you saved us from our sins, you achieved the redemption of all mankind, Christ have mercy!
Holy Spirit, you continue the work of sanctification by dwelling in the hearts of those who invite you!  Lord have mercy!
The Gospel:   Matt 13:54-58
Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where 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 native place
and in his own house.”
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.
After the Gospel:
Today we honor  St Joseph as the model for the dignity of human work….
Saint Joseph  did more than build tables and doors  and ox-carts.
He built up the fabric of the world.
He continued the work of God’s creation.
He built up the Kingdom of God.
Five hundred years later,  St Benedict required the same of his monks,
saying:  “They are truly monks when they live by the labor of their own hands, as our fathers did, and the apostles before them.”
  Labora, however, isn’t the whole monastic story.   
         Ora et Labora is.
So Benedict adds:  “At the bell for the Divine Office, as soon as the bell has been heard, let them hasten with all speed, leaving whatever work they have in hand.”
Benedict points to three major  supports of  monastic life: 
Manual work, liturgical prayer, sacred reading …
  take one away and the whole thing falls apart.
They fit together, go together to create a balance, a harmony …
All done for the Glory of God.
All done for the service of the community.
All done to build up the Kingdom of God.
That’s what gives dignity to our Work:  We’re working for God…
Even though we  don’t run the farm anymore, all of us work in support ourselves, which would please St Benedict.
Every time  we wash the brothers’ clothes,
cook the meals,
wash the dishes,
whether we work in the garden or the refectory or the  sacristy,
whether we use a hammer  or tractor or computer,
or make fudge
or bake fruitcakes and bread… it’s our work,
done with our hands …  done with love…
Sometimes it’s humble, hidden, even anonymous,
but it’s our service, done with our hands, done with love.
The kind of service that’s important for a monk because   it  lets God in, as it drives out ‘the self.’
Today we honor St Joseph, who  was able to participate in God’s redemptive plan in a very major role,  all the while leading such a common ordinary life,  working with his hands as a carpenter.
His feast reminds us  that God is not finished with creation, that God asks us each … today …  to play our part in building up the fabric of the world.
God is definitely not finished with His plan of salvation.
He isn’t finished with us.            
He still has work for us to do…