Tuesday, 1 May 2018 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, just as the world celebrates May Day or Labour Day today remembering the hard work contributed by the workers from all over the world. As Christians, we recall the great virtues of St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster-father of Our Lord and Saviour.

St. Joseph was a carpenter as the Gospels mentioned, and he lived and worked in the small village called Nazareth in Galilee, where he met the young virgin named Mary, and as we all know, they became the member of the Holy Family together with the Lord Jesus, born in Bethlehem under their guardianship and loving care. St. Joseph protected the young Lord Jesus ever since His birth, bringing Him over to Egypt for protection upon the Angel’s guidance, and then returning with Him and Mary to Nazareth once it was safe for them to do so.

St. Joseph brought up the Lord Jesus together with Mary, His mother, and likely taught the young Jesus how to live in this world, and probably have taught Him his trades and skills as a carpenter as well. The villagers of Nazareth themselves, many years later, would remember the Lord Jesus as the Son of the carpenter at the time when He came to them, revealing His true nature and Who He really was.

Unfortunately, at that time, the people disparaged the Lord and treated Him badly, refusing to believe in His teachings and words, even though they have witnessed the great works He had done, and heard the many amazing stories and feats that Jesus had done, all because of the fact that they knew Him well as the Son of the village carpenter, St. Joseph. Despite being an honest and upright man himself, people at the time often looked down at his profession as a carpenter.

A carpenter was taught to be a menial job that no one wanted, and if possible, one would try to avoid having to do such a job for a living. Why is that so? That is because the work was tough and back-breaking, and yet the returns were minimal. One could not get rich depending on such a work, and generally, such a work like a carpenter does not bring prestige or honour for whoever it was who took it as a profession.

But St. Joseph showed the true mentality and attitude of a worker who was rooted in God and who was devoted to his cause as expressed through his works. Despite his unfavourable conditions and all the difficulties he might have experienced, and even the humiliations he might have endured and despite the temptations he might have received, in escaping the condition he was in, St. Joseph remained faithful to the mission entrusted to him by God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us should follow the example of St. Joseph, the faithful and honest worker, devout servant of God. He was humble and committed, righteous and just, despite having been chosen by God to be the protector of the Holy Family and the Messiah, and despite being the heir of David. He followed God’s commandments and was a good father at the same time, protecting and guiding the young Lord Jesus, bringing Him up in the best way possible.

To all of us Christians, St. Joseph is a great role model and an inspiration. All of us should follow his examples, that in all of our dealings, in all of our work, we do not forget about God, and centre our lives and all that we do in God. Otherwise, it is very easy for us to fall into the temptations set up on us by Satan and all of his wicked forces, all of whom are trying to snatch us from God.

There are many temptations around us, brothers and sisters, and we must be aware of them, lest we fall. In our work and in our career, as we are probably quite aware, many of us are striving to attain more recognition, more payouts and more benefits, seeking to gain greater achievement and attain greater glory. As such, many of us spend hours after hours trying to gain for ourselves all of these, but often, at the expense of those who are dear to us.

And not least, in our pursuit for power, glory, wealth and human recognition, we often neglect God and we also forget about our obligations to Him. As such, we end up becoming more and more distant from Him and separated from Him, and we become easy prey for Satan, who will drag us deeper into the trap of sin he has prepared for those of us who are unable to resist the temptation of worldliness and earthly pleasures. Many of us also end up doing whatever we can in order to get more of what we desire, at the cost of causing pain and suffering for others.

Let us all instead, follow the example of St. Joseph, and strive to resist the temptations of our desires and greed. Indeed, it will not be an easy path to take, as challenges will definitely be plenty, and there will be lots of opposition, but surely, all of these are worthwhile, for God will surely reward us at the very end, all of His loyal servants and disciples, when He comes again to gather all of His faithful ones.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, inspired by the great examples of St. Joseph the Worker, and remembering what it is that all of us Christians ought to actually be doing in our lives, let us all strive to build up for ourselves the eternal riches in God, through our faith, love and commitment to serve God with all of our hearts, by loving one another, and not to put our trust in worldly possessions and riches, all of which are just mere illusory and temporary in nature.

May the Lord be with us always, and be with all of our work and endeavours, so that in everything we say, act and do, we will always do them, for the greater glory of God. St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us always. Amen.

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