Colossians 3: 14-15
Matthew 13: 54-58
"Is he not the carpenter’s son?" … and they took offense at him (Jesus). (Matt: 13:55, 57)
Today we celebrate St. Joseph the Worker, Joseph the carpenter, Joseph the hard-working, honest provider for his family: Jesus and Mary.
As I reflected on St. Joseph the Worker and the conditions of families and workers then and now today, what came to mind was a class I once took on John XX111’s Encyclical, Peace on Earth. So, I went to the Introduction and Part One of this great document and suggest that we all go back to this great work, ponder and pray over "…how the community of all peoples should act towards each other,… (and how) the establishment of such a world community of peoples is being urgently demanded today by the requirements of universal common good…."
"… Any human society if it to be well-ordered and productive, must lay down as a foundation this principle, namely that every human being is a person, that is, his/her nature is endowed with intelligence and free will. By virtue of this, he/she has rights and duties of his/her own, flowing directly and simultaneously from his/her very nature which is universal, inviolable and inalienable.
If we look upon the dignity of the human person in the light of divinely revealed truth, we cannot help but esteem it far more highly; for men/women are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ; they are by grace the children and friends of God and heirs of eternal glory.
Beginning our discussion of the rights of man/woman, we see that every one has a right to life, to bodily integrity, and to the means which are necessary and suitable for the proper development of life; these are primarily food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care,
and finally the necessary social services. Therefore a human being also has the right to security in cases of sickness, inability to work, widowhood, old age, unemployment, or in any other case which he/she is deprived of the means of subsistence through no fault of his own…."
I suggest we all find time to read again, ponder and pray over this entire encyclical written in 1963, shortly before Pope John’s death. It was significant then and is possibly more so today.
Marcella Fabing, CSJ, Christ the King Retreat Center, Citrus Heights, CA.