Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
"Is he not the carpenter’s son? Where did Jesus get all this?"
Today’s feast was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955 to emphasize the dignity of Christian labor over the annual May 1st celebration of the atheistic view of work and workers in communist countries.
This is a good day to remember in prayer the dignity of all working men and women as well as those who are presently unemployed and seeking work due to the world wide financial crisis. These troubled times also call each of to share our spiritual and temporal goods with our brothers and sisters in need and together work for the social justice that the gospels call us to.
As we enter the familiar scene of today’s gospel, we are reminded of the work of the carpenter and the work of Jesus, Son of the Father. The people of Nazareth had known Jesus as the carpenter’s son. Joseph was remembered as the honest, hard working provider for his family and a faithful member of the synagogue. Jesus had just returned to his home town from a successful Galilean ministry.
Going to the synagogue, Jesus begins to teach. The townspeople are astonished!
Why? They have known Jesus, his mother and his relatives. They take offense at Jesus.
We can just imagine their comments: "Who do you think you are, Jesus? You are one of us! We all grew up together and you are acting as if you ‘know it all’. So they close their eyes, ears and hearts to Jesus by their own self-grandiose attitude and limited experiences. Basically, their response to the presence and teaching of Jesus is: ‘We know him and he can’t be anyone out of the ordinary.’ And so they reject Jesus. They refuse to see, that Jesus as Son of God is doing the work of His Heavenly Father in their midst.
The first reading from Colossians 3:16 reminds us to… "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom…."
A question to ponder: What openness, attitudes and areas of my closed mindedness stand in the way of what Jesus is teaching us in today’s readings?
Sr. Marcella Fabing, CSJ, is the Associate Director at Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center, Citrus Heights, California.