Not giving a job is not simply a question of not having the means to life: no. We can eat every day, we can go to Caritas, we can go to an association, a club, we can go there and they will give us something to eat. But this is not the problem. The problem is not being able to bring bread to the table at home: this is a serious problem, this takes away our dignity. And the most serious problem is not hunger, even though the problem exists. The most serious problem is that of dignity. For this reason we must work and defend the dignity that work gives us.” – Pope Francis: Mass during a pastoral visit to the Italian region of Molise, July 5, 2014
Gospel Text: (MT 13:54-58)
He came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished* and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.
The gospel selection from Matthew says it all, identifying Jesus as “the son of the carpenter.” The townspeople of Nazareth seem hostile to Jesus, their native son, and point to his humble roots as a countersign to the reputation Jesus had acquired as a wise teacher, a powerful prophet and healer. But the fact that Jesus was raised by a working man highlights the Word of God’s full embrace of our humanity and gives new dignity to human labor.
On this day when we remember St. Joseph whose labor supported and nourished the very Son of God, let us honor human work of all kinds and re-dedicate ourselves to the responsibility of protecting and caring for our common home.