Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast of the Church, that is of St. Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we are wondering why we are celebrating this feast day again so soon after another feast day of St. Joseph on the nineteenth of March, then we should reflect on the importance of the figure of St. Joseph in our faith.
St. Joseph is the foster-father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is the adopted father of our Lord by his marriage to the mother of Jesus, Mary. And even though he is not the real or biological father to our Lord, but in his role as the legal father to our Lord, as his earthly father, he has been a great father and a role model for all fathers and for all families.
St. Joseph in this day is celebrated in his aspect as the Patron Saint of all workers, and all who labour. Today we commemorate the memory of this humble and yet God-fearing and hardworking carpenter of Nazareth, whose exemplary life and actions, as well as total devotion and obedience to the will of God marked him different from the rest among his profession and from among his people.
Jesus was mocked by His own people, His own townspeople in Nazareth, because they thought of Him as a mere carpenter’s Son, who somehow impossibly gained such a great and vast wisdom that could not be explained by His background and upbringing. This is because even though a carpenter’s work is a noble and honest one, but no one looked up at carpenters and other manual labourers, whom people often looked down at and ignored.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we heeded the earlier readings we heard, then we know that our Lord Himself had worked when He created the heavens and the earth, when He created all the things living on the earth, in the seas and on the sky. He laboured and toiled to create all these things, and He rested on the seventh day. This shows us that working is part of the nature of this universe, and no one who slacks and does nothing can gain anything or be any part of the Lord’s design.
And thus, today, we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, whose works and dedicated efforts remind us that there is no place in our faith and in our Church for people who idles and slacks. Firstly, as I have often mentioned, our faith requires active action and commitment, that we do not just pay lip service to God, but that we must also practice that same faith in our own actions and deeds.
And then, secondly, that as we work, we have to remember that we labour not for our own glory nor it is just for us to gain more money and possessions for ourselves, but rather, it should be for us to help one another and give glory to God through all of our works. This is where the phrase, Ora et Labora, comes to my mind. Prayer and work, and indeed, faith and works. These two are indispensable and inseparable elements of our lives.
As we know, our faith is one that requires inner spirituality, as well as outer action. Our faith is dead without action and work, as without action, our faith is meaningless, empty and superficial. And without faith and devotion, all of our works are meaningless as well. This is because our works without faith and devotion, would inevitably lead to the glorification of the self and the fulfillment of one’s own desires. And it is in selfishness and greed that our destruction is present at.
As we continue to live our lives in this world, let us all be awakened to the realities of our faith, that there are so many things which all of us can do, in order to make this world to be a better place. There are so many things which we can do, in order to help our brethren around us, especially those who are in need, and if we are able to help. Let our faith be one that is real, concrete, vibrant and filled with love and devotion towards one another.
May Almighty God, our Lord and Father awaken in us the spirit of workmanship and dedication, the spirit of respect for all workers, and to be filled with vigour and strength to carry out all of our works of faith, that we may be like St. Joseph, as brave and dedicated servants of our Lord. God bless us all. Now and forever. Amen.