REFLECTION FOR TODAY
May 1, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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?” Matt. 13:54-55
On this feast of St. Joseph, the Worker in this year dedicated to him, we recall the words of Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter entitled “With a Father’s Heart.” In the introduction to that letter, the Holy Father said, “Each of us can discover in Joseph—the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence—an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.”
Our gospel reference today points to the fact that Jesus was “the carpenter’s son.” St. Joseph was a worker. He worked with his hands as a carpenter to provide for the daily needs of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Son of God. He provided them with a home, with food, and with the other daily necessities of life. St. Joseph also protected them both by following the various messages of the angel of God who spoke to him in his dreams. Joseph fulfilled his duties in life in a quiet and hidden way, serving in his role as father, spouse, and worker.
Today we honor the patron of the universal Church, St. Joseph. We honor him according to the title “St. Joseph the Worker”. We don’t speak of him as a “Wonder-worker”, as some saints are described. Joseph didn’t work wonders. He simply worked, and his simple work reminds us who are God’s adopted children of a basic lesson of the spiritual life. In this basic lesson, St. Joseph reminds us of the Little Flower. St. Joseph does little things with great love. But more importantly, St. Joseph does little things for a great love, and in that, shares in the life of that great love.
Though St. Joseph is universally recognized and honored today within our Church and even as a prominent historical world figure, during his lifetime he would have been a man who was largely unnoticed. He would have been seen as an ordinary man doing his ordinary duty. But in many ways, that is what makes St. Joseph an ideal man to imitate and a source of inspiration.
If your life is somewhat monotonous, hidden, unappreciated by the masses, tedious, and even boring at times, then look to St. Joseph for inspiration. Today’s feast honors St. Joseph as a man who worked. And his work was quite ordinary. But holiness is found in the ordinary parts of our daily lives. Choosing to serve, day in and day out, with little or no earthly accolades, is a service of love, an imitation of the life of St. Joseph, and a source of your own holiness in life. Do not underestimate the importance of serving in these and other ordinary and hidden ways.
Reflect, today, upon the ordinary and “unremarkable” daily life of St. Joseph. If you find that your life is like what he would have experienced as a worker, a spouse, and a father, then rejoice in that fact. Rejoice in the fact that you are also called to a life of extraordinary holiness through the ordinary duties of daily life. Do them well. Do them with love. And do them in inspiration of St. Joseph and his spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary who would have shared in this ordinary day-to-day life. Know that what you do each day, when it is done out of love and service of others, is the surest path to holiness of life for you.
My Jesus, Son of the carpenter, I thank You for the gift and inspiration of Your earthly father, St. Joseph. I thank You for his ordinary life lived with great love and responsibility. Help me to imitate his life by fulfilling my daily duties of work and service well. May I recognize in the life of St. Joseph, an ideal model for my own holiness of life. Saint Joseph the Worker, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.