We celebrate St Joseph the Worker today and while this feast commemorates St Joseph as a laborer, we can also see this as a feast of St Joseph as God’s worker, who literally lived a life of union with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus said in today’s Gospel, believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe because of the works themselves. While Scripture does not record any word spoken by Joseph, his works speak loudly of his dynamic, trusting and loving relationship with God because Matthew records three times when Joseph expressed his “yes” to God by his works.
First, St Joseph obeyed the angel of the Lord and took Mary to his house after accepting his role in raising the Son of God as his son. Second, St Joseph obeyed the angel of the Lord and took the child and his mother by night and went to Egypt to escape Herod’s murder of the children in Bethlehem. Third, Joseph obeyed the angel of the Lord and took the child and his mother and came back to the land of Israel after the death of Herod. Jesus said the work of God is to believe in the one he sent. While the term: the one sent in this verse refers to Jesus, it can also refer to anyone God sent. God sent his angel to St Joseph and St Joseph believed and obeyed the angel God sent. Therefore, St Joseph lives up to his name as the Worker of God.
By doing the work of God, St Joseph produced his greatest masterpiece: the raising of the Son of God to be the Savior of the world. The Son of God would also be known as Jesus, the son of Joseph. While St Joseph had nothing to do with the conception of Jesus, and while Jesus is God and knows everything, Luke 2:52 tells us Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace with God and man. Pope Francis said Joseph is the shadow of the Father. God the Father chose Joseph to be his human representative to the Son of God. Joseph provided an example of true manhood to the child Jesus and what a dynamic faith in God looks like. St Joseph provided Jesus with an example of sacrificial, self-giving and self-dying divine love. St Joseph taught Jesus how to read the Hebrew scripture, how to worship God in Spirit and Truth, how to love God the Father with all his heart, with all his mind, with all his soul and with all his strength. St Joseph, with our Lady, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, raised Jesus to what St Paul describes in the Second Reading as a light to the Gentiles, so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.
This is why, today, we repeat the words of the Psalm all the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God… the Lord has made known his victory… all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. We have victory because Jesus fulfilled his mission to save the world, giving eternal life to those who believe, because one man, silently and courageously said yes to God, believing the one God sent, doing God’s work, resulting in the safety of the child Jesus, raising this child to be the Savior of the world.
St Joseph cares for us. He shows the love of the Father. So if we are overwhelmed by situations in our lives, we follow what the Pharaoh in the Old Testament told the people who came to him as narrated in Genesis 41:55: Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you. We are to go to Joseph to learn from him, ask him to pray for us. The man who protected our Savior, who did God’s work is also our spiritual father who will teach us how to do God’s work, by uniting ourselves with Jesus Christ whom he loved as his own son.
As we continue in this mass, we ask God to show us the fatherhood of St Joseph and how it applies to our lives. We pray for authentic masculinity for the men we love. That they may be faithful with masculine courage to do what is right. We pray for true manhood for single young men in our diocese, to rise up and respond to their call to be the person of Christ as priests. We pray for true manhood for our shepherds, that they may do God’s work, believing in the One God sent: Jesus Christ, feeding their sheep, protecting them, providing for them so the sheep may know and obey the True Shepherd: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Son of Joseph.