Father Booth’s Weekly Reflection

St Joseph the Worker

May 1st is the feast of St Joseph the Worker. This is a relatively new feast, having been established by Pope Pius XII in 1955. This feast was created and placed on May 1st in response to the communists choosing the same date to celebrate laborers. The Church, having always recognized the importance and dignity of human labor, especially since Jesus Himself spent most of His earthly life toiling as a carpenter, could not stand by letting communists and socialists claim that they were the sole voice on behalf of the workers of the world. Having enshrined strife between the various social classes, godless communism, no doubt the product of human folly and satanic inspiration, had to try to supplant the religious significance of man’s toil so as to claim to be the voice of workers worldwide.

Communists new and old would love for us to forget that two of the four sins that cry to heaven for divine vengeance relate to what they call the working class. One of these sins that cry out to heaven is the oppression of the poor, exemplified by widows and orphans: “You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely listen to their cry. My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans” (Ex 22:21-23). The other pertains to the withholding of the laborer’s wage: “Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts” (James 5:4). Since God is the champion of the poor laborer, Christianity could hardly be called a rich man’s religion. After all, who were the Apostles but fishermen, a tax collector, a tentmaker, and even a common thief? Nevertheless, the communists and socialists, supposedly the defenders of the worker, essentially seek to enslave the worker in order to enrich the idle ruling class and seek to disparage work itself by pushing for salaries even for those who refuse to work. Quite different is St Paul’s understanding of the evil of idleness and the importance of human work: “In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat. We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others. Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and to eat their own food” (2Thes 3:10-12).

Not surprisingly, the communists and socialists, godless men that they are, also embrace and even promote the other two sins that cry out to heaven. In regard to abortion, the willful murder of the unborn, how could the innocent blood shed millions of times each year, not cry out louder than the blood of Abel? “Then the Lord asked Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ He answered, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?’ God then said: ‘What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!’” (Gen 4:9-10). Likewise, given the modern socialist’s promotion of perversion, how could what is now being pushed, promulgated, and promoted in our country not also cry out to heaven? “So the Lord said [to Abraham]: The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down to see whether or not their actions are as bad as the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out” (Gen 18:20-21).

In any case, it is also interesting that the Solemnity of St Joseph, March 19th, is not a terribly old feast. Although celebrated locally in prior times, the Solemnity of St Joseph was instituted throughout the Church by Pope Pius V in 1570. In a certain way, it should not be surprising that the name of St Joseph was not added to the Roman Canon until 1962 and to the other Eucharistic Prayers on May 1st, 2013. Thus, it sure seems that the Church has been slow to recognize the significance and importance of St Joseph. Or, is it possible that the intercession of St Joseph might be a remedy for the evils afoot in recent times, especially for those sins that cry out to heaven?

Given that St Joseph was the protector of the Holy Family and is thus the protector of the Church, it makes increasing sense to seek his intercession against any number of modern evils. This quiet, holy man might well be the saint through which God chooses to vanquish today’s forces of evil. Since the Litany of St Joseph calls him the terror of demons, this really does make sense.

—Fr Booth