Fifth Sunday of Easter

Dear Friends,

This month of May brings before us two great saints – Joseph and Mary – who are models of holiness through their intimate association with Jesus. Even though May is known as the month of Mary, we enter May with the feast of “St Joseph, the Worker.”

It was Pope Pius XII who instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in 1955, in order to foster deep devotion to Saint Joseph among Catholics, and in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists. Beginning in the Book of Genesis, the dignity of human work has long been celebrated as a participation in the creative work of God. By work, humankind both fulfills the command found in Genesis to care for the earth (Gen 2:15) and to be productive in their labors. Saint Joseph, the carpenter and foster father of Jesus, is held up as a model of work.

In this Year of St. Joseph, we have been reflecting on a specific theme each month, and praying a Novena on the First Wednesday of the month. The theme for this month is: Joseph, a working Father. Here’s what Pope Francis says about this theme in his Apostolic letter, Patris Corde:

“Saint Joseph was a carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family. From him, Jesus learned the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labor.

In our own day, when employment has once more become a burning social issue, and unemployment at times reaches record levels even in nations that for decades have enjoyed a certain degree of prosperity, there is a renewed need to appreciate the importance of dignified work, of which Saint Joseph is an exemplary patron.

Work is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion. It becomes an opportunity for the fulfilment not only of oneself, but also of that primary cell of society which is the family. A family without work is particularly vulnerable to difficulties, tensions, estrangement and even break-up. How can we speak of human dignity without working to ensure that everyone is able to earn a decent living?

The loss of employment that affects so many of our brothers and sisters, and has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, should serve as a summons to review our priorities. Let us implore Saint Joseph the Worker to help us find ways to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!”

We will reflect further on this theme during our First Friday Holy Hour/Benediction on May 7, soon after the 8 am Mass. Why not get a taste of the Holy Hour? It will be accessible any time on our St. Matthias YouTube channel.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal