Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we celebrate all workers in public and private sectors. We celebrate in a special way workers who are on the frontline of the battle against the pandemic: health workers, security agents, pastoral workers, journalists, and a host of other sectors that work in the background. Today, we also celebrate so many people who are working from home. In fact, we are all working in different capacities, and so let us reflect on the value and sanctity of work.
1. Celebrating a Carpenter: Workers celebrate today. Today is a special day for the celebration of the dignity of labour. The story of Workers’ Day is associated with St. Joseph the Worker, who was the foster father of Jesus and a professional carpenter.
2. God is a Worker: Workers’ Day calls for reflection on the significance of work in human life. The book of Genesis makes us understand that God is a worker in His work of creation. God found fulfillment in His work:
“God saw everything that He made and behold it was very good.”
~ Genesis 1:31
3. Co-creators: God expects that His creatures, especially human beings, to be co-creators in making the world a beautiful place, and responsible stewards in the care of the Earth and service to one another. To be co-creators implies working closely with God and acknowledging Him as the source of life, strength and talents. The Psalmist says,
“Unless the Lord builds, the laborers work in vain.”
~ Psalm 127:1
4. Hard work goes with sweat. The Scripture says: “By the sweat of your brow shall you eat…” (Genesis 3:9). However, success does not solely depend on perspiration, but is completed by divine inspiration, which spurs brilliance and excellence. Perspiration is empty without inspiration.
5. Rest: God rested on the 7th day, and so we are called to do the same. Rest brings creativity, and renews energy and good health. Workers deserve rest, holidays, vacation and recreation to be more effective.
6. Fruitful Work: Perspiration comes with the fruits of labor. The Psalmist sincerely requests that God grants success to the work of his hands (Psalm 90:17). Through the prophet Isaiah, God gave the assurance of fruitfulness to his people:
They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.
~ Isaiah 65:21-23
7. Reward: Today we celebrate in a special way those who work with us and for us. People who have been part of our success stories: in business, professional or other works. There are people who have sweated together with us; there are workers we are indebted to; there are workers who work with us that need to be appreciated, rewarded, celebrated and encouraged.
Which of your workers or co-workers would you want to appreciate today? Whose work are you highly indebted to?