Monday 30 April 2018

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - St. Joseph the Worker - Has your stereotyping and prejudiced mind led to missing out on the beauty of others?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 1:26-2:3; Col 3:14-15,17,23-24;Mt 13:54-58

Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955 and to be celebrated on May 1. The relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers has a much longer history.

In a constantly necessary effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary human life, the Church has from the beginning proudly emphasized that Jesus was a carpenter, obviously trained by Joseph in both the satisfactions and the drudgery of that vocation. That Joseph’s trade was carpentry is clear from the Synoptic Gospels and today’s Gospel in particular.  Matthew {unlike Mark who identifies Jesus as a carpenter (Mk 6:3)} identifies Jesus as the “carpenter’s son” since he is interested in showing Jesus as Son of Joseph and so Son of David.  Though the text does not explicitly state the reason for the offence, the preceding question, "Where then did this man get all this?" indicates that they did not expect that the son of a carpenter could be capable of reaching the heights that Jesus had reached. It also indicates a closed attitude on the part of Jesus' townspeople and their stereotyping of him. They are unable to believe that God can accomplish all things.

In response to their negative attitude to him, Jesus speaks of himself as a prophet and identifies himself with the true prophets of Israel. The reason why Jesus did not do many deeds of power there was because of their unbelief. This is a strong statement and speaks about the necessity of an open mind and heart for miracles to occur.

The readings chosen for the feast all seem to stress that humans need to realise that they are humans and also to realise that God will always be God.

Work is an extension of the human person and we give expression to our creativity through our work. However, we must also remember that we are much more than our work and all that we do. Jesus was a carpenter by trade but he was much more than that. He was also a prophet and a messenger of God. We too like Jesus and Joseph though ‘workers’ of one kind or another are more than our work. We too are prophets and messengers of God.

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