A reflection on the value of work in honor of the Feast of St Joseph, patron of workers (celebrated May 1) by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.
Happy feast day! Our work is always blessed, whether we know it or not. Today, I was following up on all the work, where work was altered from being the blessing to being the curse. So I went back to Genesis:
“The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it. The Lord God gave man this order: ‘You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad. From that tree you shall not eat. The moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die." (Gen 2:15-17)
Then I read about Cain and his sin and what was his punishment. We read in Genesis again: “My punishment is too great to bear, since you have now banished me from the soil and I must avoid your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth. Anyone may be kill me at sight.” (Gen 4:13) His punishment was a lack of stability: “I must avoid your presence and become a restless wanderer.” (Gen 4:14) Stability repairs the wound. It reminds us that we must always face God and not be distracted from Him. We have to be able to work and not be distracted from why we are doing it. This means we are not take it to ourselves and let it be for our glory, for we are working for God.
Jesus repaired that. Remember how he sanctified the waters by plunging into them. I bet Jesus plunged into his work and worked hard. He sanctified work by plunging himself in it. Also, he had to obey Joseph and Mary. He repaired Eve by listening and obeying Joseph. It was through Joseph that He learned God’s will in His work. He too had to learn to obey from what He suffered. “And Jesus went home with them from the temple and was obedient to them.” (Lk 2:51) In other words, he longed for the temple, he longed to be with God, but God said: “Follow my direction.” What did Jesus do? Exactly as He was told. He had to wait. He could not choose it, he had to wait obediently.