Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
(Acts 14:19-28; John 14:27-31a)
Although St. Joseph the Worker is an optional memorial, it is one of those feast days that most Catholics remember. It is fitting, therefore, to apply the readings for the Easter season to work. Fortunately, it can be done today without stretching the meaning of at least the first reading.
The passage from Acts describes the glory and the hardship of the work of the apostles. Paul and Barnabas have successfully evangelized apparently thousands of people. When they return to Antioch, they duly celebrate their accomplishment. The job has not been easy, however. Today’s reading also depicts Paul being stoned and left for dead.
All work has similar benefits and costs. Even in pitching hay a worker develops some skill. Honest work also brings the satisfaction of contributing to the common good. On the other hand, work contains elements that challenge physically, mentally, and emotionally. As the apostles did at the start of their mission, we want to commend our work to God. And as they no doubt include in their celebration, we need to thank God for work accomplished.