Most of us identify with our jobs, even though we are much more than what we do. But without a decent job that helps us live our lives and care for ourselves and loved ones, we lose purpose and meaning. Just being able to go to work everyday and receive what hopefully is a just wage, contributes to our well being and sense of purpose.
Jobs come in all shapes and sizes, with each one making our lives integrated and supported. Whatever area one works in is vital to each and every one of us. During this time of the pandemic, millions have lost their jobs, their livelihood, their sense of purpose and identity, not to forget health care. The high rate of unemployment might well reach depression levels, a frightening thought.
On this Feast of Joseph the worker, let us pray for those who have lost their means of making a living. Hopefully, when we are able to ease some of these restrictions, businesses will be able to function and reopen, allowing for people to return to work. But this, unfortunately, will not be the case for many, since some of the small businesses can’t reopen.
The situation in which we find ourselves is a wake up call to realize how fragile life can be, especially in the world of economics. Things can happen, literally overnight, to completely alter our financial well being and independence. How do we live with this uncertainty? By being grateful, in the present, for the gifts we have, the gifts given to us by God, for our ability to work, for taking nothing for granted. We can live lives of simplicity, not so focused on constantly buying things that only clutter our lives.
Generosity of spirit, of time and wealth... of love is how we are called to live each and every day. Joseph quietly lived his life out of the spotlight, a laborer and hard worker, etching out a way of living that provided the essentials. He became a role model for Jesus as he grew up, learning from Joseph the value of hard work. There’s a good chance Jesus learned some of the “tricks of the trade” and worked at carpentry himself. What a beautiful thought: The Son working as a carpenter, who eventually moved into a new line of work: preaching, teaching and healing as the “good shepherd,” a way of living frowned upon. Jesus, it appears, was not interested in climbing any ladders of success!
On this Feast of St. Joseph, we pray for those who lost their jobs, that they will not lose hope or give in to discouragement.