Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Pope Francis on” WORK" (Feast of St Joseph the Worker May 1st 2013)

Pope Francis on” WORK”

Today, the 1st of May, we celebrate St. Joseph the Worker and begin the month traditionally dedicated to the Virgin Mary. During this encounter, I would thus like to reflect on these two important figures in the life of Jesus, of the Church and in our lives, with two brief thoughts: the first regarding work, the second on the contemplation of Jesus.

 In the Gospel of St. Matthew, one of the times when Jesus returns to his native region, to Nazareth, and speaks in the synagogue, the Gospel underlines his fellow villagers' astonishment at his wisdom, and the question they ask one another: is not this the Carpenter's son?" (13:55). Jesus enters into our history, he comes into our midst, being born of Mary by the work of God, but with the presence of St. Joseph, the legal father who guards him and even teaches him his trade. Jesus was born and lived in a family, in the Holy Family, learning from St. Joseph the carpenter's trade, in the workshop of Nazareth, sharing with him his commitment, hard work and satisfaction, as well as each day's difficulties.

This calls to mind for us the dignity and importance of work. The Book of Genesis tells us that God created man and woman by entrusting to them the task of populating the Earth and subjugating it, which does not mean to exploit it, but to cultivate and guard it, to care for it with their own labour (cf. Gen 1:28; 2:15). The work is part of the plan of God's love; we are called to cultivate and safeguard all the goods of creation and in this way we participate in the work of creation! The work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. Work, to use an image, "anoints" us with dignity, it fills us with dignity; it makes us similar to God, who has worked and works still, He is always acting (cf. Jn 5:17); it gives the ability to maintain oneself, one's family, to contribute to the growth of one's nation. And here I am thinking of the difficulties which, in different countries, today's world of work and enterprise are facing; I think about how many people, and not just young people, are unemployed, often because of an economic conception of society, which seeks selfish gain, outside of the parameters of social justice.

I would like to invite everyone to solidarity, and wish to encourage those those in charge of public affairs to make every effort to give new impetus to employment; this means caring for the dignity of the person; but mostly I would say not to lose hope. St. Joseph also had difficult moments, but never lost confidence and was able to overcome them, in the certainty that God does not abandons us. And then I would like to address specifically the adolescents  and you young people: get involved in your daily duty, in study, in work, in friendships, in helping others; your future depends also on your wisdom in living these precious years of life. Don't be afraid of effort, of sacrifice and don't look to the future with fear; keep hope alive: there's always a light on the horizon.

I add a word about another particular work situation that bothers me: I am referring to what could be defined as "slave labor", work that enslaves. How many people, worldwide, are victims of this kind of slavery, where the person is at the service of work, when it must be work that offers a service to persons so that they may have dignity. I would ask my brothers and sisters in faith and all men and women of good will to make a decisive choice against the trafficking of persons, within which falls the category of "slave labor".

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