1 May, 2020

on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested

~ Genesis 2:2 ~

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St Joseph the Worker, while in many countries we celebrate Workers Day. This passage suggests that in a certain sense, God is a worker too: creating, liking what God has done, and then resting.


Work. Reward. Rest. That is a pattern in this reading. It is not always the case in the world of work.


Work: there is either too much or too little – and for many, no work at all.


Reward: once again, there can be too much reward for what one does or too little in many cases for the time and effort. And often the sense of achievement of a job well done may be missing.


Rest: and again, often there is too little or too much. At very worst the ‘rest’ is enforced by unemployment and increasingly the disappearance of whole categories of work as the global economy keeps changing.


Especially during Covid-19 lockdowns, where work is limited – and many people go out of business.


There are no easy answers to any of this. Just as God’s creation is a balance of forces in nature, order and chaos, birth and death, so too must we work together to find balance in work itself – between markets and people, work and rest, and reward.


Loving God whose work is our Spirit-filled evolving universe

Inspire us by your Wisdom

To value work and workers

To balance the need for labour with the right to just wages

To reward good work and to find good work rewarding

And to grant all who work a fair time to rest

Through Christ our Lord



Catholic Parliamentary

Liaison Office

Jesuit Institute
South Africa

Reflection prepared by

Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for spotlight.africa. He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.

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