Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker (1st May, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Acts 6:8-15;Ps 118:23-24.26-27.29-30 (R.v.1);
The feast of Saint Joseph the Worker was instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1955 to foster deep devotion to Saint Joseph among Catholics, and in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists. Saint Joseph, the carpenter and foster father of Jesus, is but one example of the holiness of human labour. Jesus, too, was a carpenter, cf. Mk 6:3. He learned the trade from Saint Joseph and spent his early adult years working side-by-side in Joseph’s carpentry shop before leaving to pursue his ministry as preacher and healer.
Topic: What worth working for.
The people who ate the bread and fish Jesus multiplied came looking for Jesus in today’s gospel. When they finally found Jesus they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” And Jesus replied them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves”.
Jesus went on to warn, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” This warning is very much vital today more than ever because the very things Jesus warns us against are the things we are ready to do anything for even to kill, cf. Jas 4:1-2a. We forget that all we eat and drink goes from the mouth to the stomach and out of the body, cf. Matt 15:17. Imagine the people who had more than they could eat just yesterday are in today’s gospel looking for Jesus for the same perishable things.
The people later asked Jesus, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” And Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” Two questions among others come to mind here:
i. Do we believe in Him whom God has sent?
ii. To what extent will the things we pursue today take us?
We are to imitate St Joseph. Although he was a poor carpenter, yet he is a righteous man, cf. Matt 1:18.
Bible Reading: Ps 49: 1-20.
Thought for today: Let us work today for tomorrow.
Let us pray: Lord, help us to work for the food that endures for eternal life – Amen.
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