Friday, 1 May 2020 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the first day of the month of May, which is celebrated all across the world as the Labour Day and May Day, the Church celebrates the great feast of the Patron of all workers, namely that of St. Joseph the Worker, a great saint and one of the most important figures in the Church as the Foster-Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. St. Joseph the Worker was also upright, virtuous and good in all the things he had done, a hardworking servant of God in all things.

St. Joseph is the Protector of the Universal Church for the important roles he had taken up in his life, in his tireless efforts to protect his family, the young Baby Jesus and His mother Mary. St. Joseph was the one who brought the Holy Family safely first to Bethlehem, when Mary gave birth to the Lord Jesus in a stable, and then later on, St. Joseph brought them to Egypt on the run from king Herod the Great and his agents trying to have the Lord Jesus murdered. It was also him who then brought them all back to Nazareth, where St. Joseph and Mary raised up Jesus well.

St. Joseph was just a mere carpenter, an occupation that did not earn a lot of money, then as well as even today. Even today, carpenters are often forgotten and easily overlooked, and they are even looked down upon and disrespected by many segments of the community. St. Joseph was a poor carpenter of a small village of Nazareth, a backwater area in the whole Jewish world and even more so in the greater world. Galilee, where Nazareth was, was at the periphery of the Jewish lands, and many of the people in Judea and Jerusalem looked down on the Galileans because of that, and all the more for a poor, unknown carpenter like St. Joseph.

Yet, St. Joseph was full of virtues and faith, and he dedicated his life to the service of God, raising the Lord Himself as his own foster Son, with great dedication and hardwork, not minding his reputation and anything else. He did his work for the greater glory of God and not for his own personal ambitions, glory or desires. Normally these are what most people would have sought for and desired over, such things like glory, wealth, reputation, fame among others, but not so for St. Joseph.

That is why we all look up at St. Joseph, the Worker, as the Patron saint of all workers and everyone in the workforce and in various employments. He is our great role model in how he lived his life, in how he devoted himself and his work to God, and in his tireless pursuit of the glorification of God rather than his own glory, vanity and power. That is why today, we celebrate the great virtues by which St. Joseph had lived his life and carried out his missions and efforts dutifully throughout his life.

Today, therefore, as we commemorate this Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, let us first of all remember all workers all around the world, in various occupations, particularly all those who are struggling with their work and all those who are about to lose their employment or rice bowl of income. We know of just how devastating the current terrible coronavirus pandemic had been to many workers in various sectors of employment and the society, how many businesses and companies had folded and closed down because of this pandemic as well as other issues.

Let us remember them in our prayers and ask St. Joseph the Worker to intercede for their sake, that the Lord will be with them all and guide them through these difficult times, that hopefully they will be able to find their good way out of their current predicament. And therefore, we also must not forget all those who are now working tirelessly to sustain themselves and their families, all those who are employed in the essential services and also all those who are trying their best to sustain their families in this great and needy moments.

We should also ask St. Joseph the Worker to intercede for all of our frontline workers, all those healthcare workers and all the personnel involved in the frontline of the battle against the pandemic, as well as others involved in the planning and the efforts to maintain the whole communities of people under these most difficult and challenging of times. Let us ask for the intercession of St. Joseph the Worker that through him, the Lord may be moved to show His mercy, compassion and love to all of us suffering now.

And lastly, let us all ourselves be inspired by the great examples set by St. Joseph the Worker in his life, his virtues and his dedication to the Lord. Let us all be shining examples of virtue and good work ourselves, by living our lives following the good examples of St. Joseph, by being faithful in all things, upright and virtuous in our actions and dealings, in how we interact with one another, and more. Let us all strive to be ever more faithful with each and every passing moments of our lives.

May the Lord continue to guide us and bless us in our works and efforts, and may He show us His mercy and love, particularly during these most difficult and challenging moments we are encountering at the moment. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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