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Year of St Joseph: Reflection for May

In the Book of Genesis, Sacred Scripture speaks to us about God’s work: “On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing (Gen 2:2).” In speaking of this work of God—even if metaphorically, the Bible is not afraid to describe God as a worker. And if we read the first pages of this book we can see the object of God’s labour: the earth, creation, vegetation, life. We ourselves are the object of his marvellous work—we are the fruit of God’s labour.

Further, we might wonder—How does God work? What are the characteristic ways of God’s labour? The Scripture provides us with answers for this question too. God’s labours are freely done. They are the means for God to spontaneously express Himself. God’s works are creative and inventive. God’s work shows God’s love.

After each work God pauses to say to Himself: This is good. “God saw all that He had made and indeed, it was very good.” The Scriptures, then, in limited human words, capture something of the great mystery of the work of God:— It is free, spontaneous, creative, something which bears fruit and brings great satisfaction.

This is the work God wants human beings to share in—an expression of our very self as God’s children. Our work is a free expression of our love our creativity and skill—it bears fruit and fills us with satisfaction.

The Church has given us the figure of St Joseph as an example to Christian workers. Human beings share in God’s work, creating a world in which we can see God’s presence; a world in which we can come to know God’s Son. This was the fruit of the simple but creative work of Joseph. Through his labours—the work he shared with Mary, he made a home in which the goodness of God could be seen, a home in which the presence of God grew, took shape and flourished. Joseph found his purpose and discovered himself in this work—he knew great satisfaction—indeed his work was very good and made him holy.

Let’s ask St Joseph to help us discover what our share is in the spontaneous, creative and fruitful work of God.


The picture is of the painting: Workshop of St Joseph the Carpenter from Stories of St Joseph (1886–90) by Modesto Faustini (1839–1891). [Sailko, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.]

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