Saturday, 1 May 2021 : 4th 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 occasion of the celebration of the feast of St. Joseph the Worker which falls on the first day of May every year. On this day, which is also celebrated as May Day or Labour Day by secular organisations and governments all around the world, we remember the nature of Christian work and charity as highlighted in the role model of all Christian workers, that is St. Joseph, the foster-father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was a carpenter in the small town of Nazareth.

St. Joseph was the model of virtue for all Christians, of obedience and righteous living and as a simple, humble carpenter, he led a mostly unassuming life in a small, unassuming town of Nazareth, in Galilee at the peripheries of the Jewish world and community at that time. As a carpenter, he was often overlooked and ignored, needed by the community but often unappreciated and disregarded by them in general, as carpenter was considered as the job of the illiterate and the uneducated, skilled but without much power and influence, or fame and glory.

That is why when the Lord came to Nazareth, His own hometown to reveal to the people there, His own townspeople regarding the truth that He has brought into this world, He was ridiculed and rejected, as the people there pointed out how He was just the Son of the village carpenter, a lowly person without much pedigree and status, and therefore, they ridiculed and rejected Him as such, even though He truly had spoken in such great wisdom and authority and done many wonderful deeds before them and across all of Galilee.

That brings us therefore to the reality of our world today, brothers and sisters in Christ, a world where workers all over the world are often under-appreciated and under-provided, treated badly and subjected to horrible working conditions and being treated unfairly, while those who manipulated and exploited them had free reign in doing whatever they wanted in order to maximise profits for themselves and to enjoy the fruits of those who have laboured under them without fair compensation and treatment.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called in our own respective lives to reflect on the realities of our world’s working community and the well-being of workers in general. We are called as employers and those who are in the position of influence and power to be fair in how we treat our fellow men, and not to treat those whom God had entrusted to be under our authority and guidance without justice. And as those who are working, and are labouring, we are also called to be just and virtuous ourselves, that we treat one another with respect, and also obey the good rules and laws of our employment.

Today, as Christians, all of us as part of the same Christian community, assembly of all the faithful, are called to be more like St. Joseph in how we live our lives, as humble and God-centred people, as those who place God as the focus of our respective lives and obey His will and His laws as we carry on living our lives and doing whatever we can throughout life in order to fulfil our obligations as Christians, to be good role models for one another and to be faithful witnesses and disciples of Our Lord through our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us also take some time to reflect on how we are going forward in our lives and balancing our work obligations, our commitments in life, and most importantly our faith life and relationship with God. It is too often that many people have been so absorbed into their work and career that they ended up forgetting that their work and career is only a means to an end. Instead, they allow those things to control them and enslave them to their own desires and ambitions.

Let us all not lose sight of our true focus on life, brothers and sisters, that is the Lord, our God. He is the true centre of our lives, the reason of our very existence, and why we labour daily in order to glorify His Name by our works, and proclaim His truth through our exemplary faith and dedication. Let us all be the pillars of virtue and justice as St. Joseph, the righteous and virtuous Worker had shown us, as a most devoted servant of God and as the Protector of the Church.

Let us ask St. Joseph for his constant intercession, for all of us working out there, and especially for those who are on the forefront of the struggle against the pandemic, all of our frontline healthcare workers, who toiled daily, day and night to care for the need of those who are sick and suffering. Let us ask him to pray for the sake of all those who have also been exploited and manipulated for their work without fair treatment and justice, that God may recourse them and protect them in their hour of need.

May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us, to be His most faithful disciples, doing our respective work and duties in life, first and foremost as Christians, and living our lives genuinely with faith, in our working places and within each and every one of our communities. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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