Pray for us, Saint Joseph, alleluia.
Thou faithful protector of all our work, alleluia.
Work was the daily expression of love in the life of the
Family of Nazareth. The Gospel specifies the kind of work Joseph did in order
to support his family: he was a carpenter. This simple word sums up Joseph's
entire life. For Jesus, these were hidden years, the years to which Luke refers
after recounting the episode that occurred in the Temple: "And he went
down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them" (Lk 2:51).
This "submission" or obedience of Jesus in the house of Nazareth
should be understood as a sharing in the work of Joseph. Having learned the
work of his presumed father, he was known as "the carpenter's son."
If the Family of Nazareth is an example and model for human families, in the
order of salvation and holiness, so too, by analogy, is Jesus' work at the side
of Joseph the carpenter. In our own day, the Church has emphasized this by
instituting the liturgical memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. Human
work, and especially manual labor, receive special prominence in the Gospel.
Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the
mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the
workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human
work closer to the mystery of the Redemption.
In the human growth of Jesus "in wisdom, age and
grace," the virtue of industriousness played a notable role, since
"work is a human good" which "transforms nature" and makes
man "in a sense, more human."
The importance of work in human life demands that its
meaning be known and assimilated in order to "help all people to come
closer to God, the Creator and Redeemer, to participate in his salvific plan
for man and the world, and to deepen...friendship with Christ in their lives,
by accepting, through faith, a living participation in his threefold mission as
Priest, Prophet and King."
What is crucially important here is the sanctification of
daily life, a sanctification which each person must acquire according to his or
her own state, and one which can be promoted according to a model accessible to
all people: "St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that
Christianity raises up to great destinies; ...he is the proof that in order to
be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of great things-it
is enough to have the common, simple and human virtues, but they need to be
true and authentic."
Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos, 1989