Due to technical difficulties, I had a tough time hearing the first reading at Mass today.
“Technical”, as in “somebody forgot to turn on the mike.” At first, I didn’t think it’d be a big deal: I could just open my missalette and follow along as the lector read aloud.
Except we went with the “optional” readings this morning, marking the feast of St. Joseph the Worker—and the scripture passage proclaimed didn’t appear in my missalette. So I went with Plan B: Trying really hard to focus and hear.
Alas, it was pretty much a lost cause. The reading was half-way over by the time I realized the extra effort that would be required on my part to engage with it. But I was intrigued enough by the setting – the commemoration of St. Joseph the Worker – to wonder what, exactly, I had missed.
What scripture would the Church choose, to help us meditate on the holiness of handiwork…the sacredness of doing our daily tasks?
The answer, it turns out, was a passage from Paul’s letter to the Colossians—one that has a little bit to do with work, but is much more focused on how we do our work. What energizes us? What enable us to keep our nose to the grindstone, day after day, week after week, year after year?
‘Over all these, put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through Christ.
‘Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.’
Rather, our work is blessed by its connectedness to Christ…and by the opportunities it provides to bring the Good News into a broken, dysfunctional world.
It’s quite a revolutionary concept, if you think about it. The perfect message, perhaps, for May Day.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.