Archive for the ‘Why Things Are the Way They Are’ Category

While we render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, this does not mean that there are aspects of secular life which are not informed by the Christian faith. Every aspect of secular life is informed by Christian faith because every aspect of secular life is inseparable from the human person created in the image and likeness of God and enlivened by His Spirit. Unfortunately, so often today faith is not seen informing social issues, but social issues informing faith. This rears its ugly head in varied ways. Sometimes it is wholly obvious. For instance, when a homosexualist reduces God’s holy word to merely human so that they may justify rejecting it. Often times it is much more subtle. An example of this comes from Bishop Terence Drainey of Middlesbrough. On May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, he spoke of the dignity of work and the serious problem of poverty among the working class. At the end he called for adopting the living wage and ending zero-hour contracts. I agree with everything he said, except for the very last line: “Wouldn’t that have been something St. Joseph would have downed tools to applaud?” It’s not that I think St. Joseph wouldn’t have downed tools. The point is that I can’t actually know what St. Joseph would have done. Would St. Joseph have gone on strike in the presence of unjust wages and working conditions? I don’t know. He lived 2,000 years ago. He was a simple carpenter, living before the guilds of days-gone-by and the unions of today. It is possible that St. Joseph even agreeing that circumstances were unjust would continue working while advocating for justice in other ways. St. Joseph was a man who entirely devoted his life to God regardless of the conditions surrounding his life. This was the point of St. Paul’s words to slaves. It wasn’t an endorsement of slavery. It was a concern for one’s soul. We can and should work to bring injustices to an end, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it will necessarily happen in our life time. Even if it does, what then? Do we simply find the next injustice to fight against? We are not made for this world; we are pilgrims who are either journeying towards their true home or away from it. So the real question isn’t whether or not St. Joseph would have downed tools for a living wage and an end to zero-hour contract (as horribly vile as those are). The real question is what St. Joseph, who wants nothing other than to lead us to his foster-child Jesus Christ, tells us about our pilgrimage as a worker in any condition. Let the saints guide us through these turbulent waters of life, rather than the turbulent waters of life determining how we understand the saints.



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