Reflections

Saturday in the 4th Week of Easter, May 1, 2021

JOSEPH THE WORKER
Introduction
To the people of Nazareth, Jesus was known as the son of a laborer, the son of the carpenter. Yes, God’s Son born in a workman’s family, and like the young people of his time, presumably helping his father in the carpentry workshop. The readings of today also present human work as a cooperation with the creative act of God: we are stewards of creation, to whom God has entrusted the work of his hands. Let us work as stewards of one another and of God’s creation.
 
Opening Prayer
Creative God,
when by your word
you had accomplished your creation,
you entrusted it to people
whom you had created in your image
and you said: fill the earth and subdue it.
Fill us with your Spirit, Lord,
that we may preserve the beauty and order
of your magnificent creation
and that like St Joseph
we take up the task entrusted to us
of perfecting your creation
in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen!
 
1 Reading: ACTS 13:44-52
On the following Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
 
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4
R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God. or: Alleluia.
 
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm. R.
 
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel. R.
 
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise. R.
 
Alleluia: Psalm 68:20
R/ Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed be the Lord day by day,
God, our salvation , who bears our burdens.
R/ Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel
(In Nigeria today is Optional Memorial and the Gospel is John 14:7-14. However, we are presenting the Gospel of the Memorial of St Joseph the Worker in honour of all labourers, especially, the Nigerian Workers, the most maligned and worst remunerated in the entire world.)
 
Gospel: Matthew 13:54-58
At that time, He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honour except in their own country and in their own house.” And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.
 
Commentary
On this day honouring human labour, let us hear from John Paul II (Laborem Exercens):
“THROUGH WORK man must earn his daily bread and contribute to the continual advance of science and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the society within which he lives in community with those who belong to the same family. And work means any activity by man, whether manual or intellectual, whatever its nature or circumstances; it means any human activity that can and must be recognized as work, in the midst of all the many activities of which man is capable and to which he is predisposed by his very nature, by virtue of humanity itself. Man is made to be in the visible universe an image and likeness of God himself, and he is placed in it in order to subdue the earth. From the beginning therefore he is called to work. Work is one of the characteristics that distinguish man from the rest of creatures, whose activity for sustaining their lives cannot be called work. Only man is capable of work, and only man works, at the same time by work occupying his existence on earth. Thus work bears a particular mark of man and of humanity, the mark of a person operating within a community of persons. And this mark decides its interior characteristics; in a sense it constitutes its very nature.”
 
Intersessions:
As we celebrate St. Joseph today, let us being our intentions before the Lord.
Lord, we pray you for your Church. Let it honour St Joseph, its patron, through a responsible and dedicated leadership, we pray:
Lord, we pray you for those in public office, that they may lead their people with wisdom and justice, we pray:
Lord, we pray you for heads of families, including single parents, that they may be dedicated to their children, we pray:
Lord, we pray you for labourers who live by the work of their hands; may they do their work conscientiously and take pride in it, we pray:
Lord, we pray you for ourselves. May we be people who know how to serve and to live in our presence, we pray:
Lord, may the help of St Joseph help us all to serve you with love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
 
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord God, here is bread,
like the bread earned by St Joseph
for the family of Nazareth.
Turn it into the bread of life,
your Son Jesus Christ.
that he may keep us going
to carry out the task you have entrusted to us.
Make us look at all work, however humble,
as ennobling us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
 
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
St. Joseph served the Holy Family
by the work of his hands.
Whatever task you have entrusted to us,
help us to put our heart in it
and see in it a way to serve people
and to give praise and glory to your name
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
 
Blessing
“Is this not the carpenter’s son?” Human, the son of simple parents who had to work with their hands to earn the food of every day. And Jesus with them. The creator earning his bread. May you honour and respect work, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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