St Joseph


Today, we bless St Joseph as a worker, but recalling St Joseph the Worker reminds us of God the Worker and Jesus the Worker. And the theme of work is very, very, very evangelical.

Even Jesus, worked a lot on earth, in St Joseph's workshop. He worked until the Cross. He did what the Father had commanded him to do. This makes me think of the many people today who work and have this dignity...Thanks be to God. We know that dignity does not give us power, money or culture. No! It is work that gives us dignity, even if society does not allow for all to work.

Social, political and economic systems that in various places around the world are based on exploitation. Thus, they choose to “not pay the just” and to strive to make maximum profit at any cost, taking advantage of other's work without worrying the least bit about about their dignity”. This “goes against God!”. There are dramatic situations which keep happening in the world, which we have also “read many times in L'Osservatore Romano ”. Sunday, 28 April, article about the garment factory collapse in Dhaka which killed hundreds of workers who were being exploited and who worked without the proper safety preoccupations. It is a title, which struck me the day of the tragedy in Bangladesh: 'How to die for 38 euros a month'”.
'Slave labour' exploits “the most beautiful gift which God gave man: the ability to create, work and to discover one's own dignity. How many of our brothers and sisters in the world are in this situation at the hands of these economic, social and political attitudes.


Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good Morning,

Today, 1 May, we celebrate
St Joseph the Worker and begin the month traditionally dedicated to Our Lady. In our encounter this morning, I want to focus on these two figures, so important in the life of Jesus, the Church and in our lives, with two brief thoughts: the first on work, the second on the contemplation of Jesus.

1. In the Gospel of St Matthew, in one of the moments when Jesus returns to his town, to Nazareth, and speaks in the Synagogue, the amazement of his fellow townspeople at his wisdom is emphasized. They asked themselves the question: “Is not this the carpenter's son?” (13:55). Jesus comes into our history, he comes among us by being born of Mary by the power of God, but with the presence of St Joseph, the legal father who cares for him and also teaches him his trade. Jesus is born and lives in a family, in the Holy Family, learning the carpenter’s craft from St Joseph in his workshop in Nazareth, sharing with him the commitment, effort, satisfaction and also the difficulties of every day.

This reminds us of the dignity and importance of
work. The Book of Genesis tells us that God created man and woman entrusting them with the task of filling the earth and subduing it, which does not mean exploiting it but nurturing and protecting it, caring for it through their work (cf. Gen 1:28; 2:15). Work is part of God’s loving plan, we are called to cultivate and care for all the goods of creation and in this way share in the work of creation! Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. Work, to use a metaphor, “anoints” us with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God, who has worked and still works, who always acts (cf. Jn 5:17); it gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one’s family, to contribute to the growth of one’s own nation. And here I think of the difficulties which, in various countries, today afflict the world of work and business today; I am thinking of how many, and not only young people, are unemployed, often due to a purely economic conception of society, which seeks profit selfishly, beyond the parametres of social justice.

I wish to extend an invitation to solidarity to everyone, and I would like to encourage those in public office to make every effort to give new impetus to employment, this means caring for the dignity of the person, but above all I would say do not lose hope. St Joseph also experienced moments of difficulty, but he never lost faith and was able to overcome them, in the certainty that God never abandons us. And then I would like to speak especially to you young people: be committed to your daily duties, your studies, your work, to relationships of friendship, to helping others; your future also depends on how you live these precious years of your life. Do not be afraid of commitment, of sacrifice and do not view the future with fear. Keep your hope alive: there is always a light on the horizon.

I would like to add a word about another particular work situation that concerns me: I am referring to what we could define as
“slave labour”, work that enslaves. How many people worldwide are victims of this type of slavery, when the person is at the service of his or her work, while work should offer a service to people so they may have dignity. I ask my brothers and sisters in the faith and all men and women of good will for a decisive choice to combat the trafficking in persons, in which “slave labour” exists.

2. With reference to the second thought: in the silence of the daily routine, St Joseph, together with Mary, share a single common centre of attention: Jesus. They accompany and nurture the growth of the Son of God made man for us with commitment and tenderness, reflecting on everything that happened. In the Gospels, St Luke twice emphasizes the attitude of Mary, which is also that of St Joseph: she “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (2:19,51). To listen to the Lord, we must learn to contemplate, feel his constant presence in our lives and we must stop and converse with him, give him space in prayer. Each of us, even you boys and girls, young people, so many of you here this morning, should ask yourselves: “how much space do I give to the Lord? Do I stop to talk with him?” Ever since we were children, our parents have taught us to start and end the day with a prayer, to teach us to feel that the friendship and the love of God accompanies us. Let us remember the Lord more in our daily life!

And in this month of May, I would like to recall the importance and beauty of the prayer of the Holy Rosary. Reciting the Hail Mary, we are led to contemplate the mysteries of Jesus, that is, to reflect on the key moments of his life, so that, as with Mary and St Joseph, he is the centre of our thoughts, of our attention and our actions. It would be nice if, especially in this month of May, we could pray the Holy Rosary together in the family, with friends, in the parish, or some prayer to Jesus and the Virgin Mary! Praying together is a precious moment that further strengthens family life, friendship! Let us learn to pray more in the family and as a family!

Dear brothers and sisters, let us ask St Joseph and the Virgin Mary to teach us to be faithful to our daily tasks, to live our faith in the actions of everyday life and to give more space to the Lord in our lives, to pause to contemplate his face. Thank you.




Pope Francis   22.12.13  Angelus, St Peters Square         4th Sunday of Advent  Year A          Matthew 1: 18-24


Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

On this Fourth Sunday of
Advent, the Gospel tells us about the events preceding the birth of Jesus, and the Evangelist Matthew presents them from the point of view of St Joseph, the betrothed of the Virgin Mary.

Joseph and Mary were dwelling in Nazareth; they were not yet living together, because they were not yet married. In the meantime, Mary, after having welcomed the Angel’s announcement, came to be with child by the power of the Holy Spirit. When Joseph realized this, he was bewildered. The Gospel
does not explain what his thoughts were, but it does tell us the essential: he seeks to do the will of God and is ready for the most radical renunciation. Rather than defending himself and asserting his rights, Joseph chooses what for him is an enormous sacrifice. And the Gospel tells us: “Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly” (1:19).

This brief sentence reveals a true inner drama if we think about the love that Joseph had for Mary! But even in these circumstances, Joseph intends to do the will of God and decides, surely with great sorrow, to send Mary away quietly. We need to meditate on these words in order to understand the great trial that Joseph had to endure in the days preceding Jesus’ birth. It was a trial similar to the sacrifice of Abraham, when God asked him for his son Isaac (cf. Gen 22): to give up what was most precious, the person most beloved.

But as in the case of Abraham, the Lord intervenes: he found the faith he was looking for and he opens up a different path, a path of love and of happiness. “Joseph,” he says, “do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:20).

This Gospel passage reveals to us the greatness of St Joseph’s heart and soul. He was following a good plan for his life, but God was reserving another plan for him, a greater mission. Joseph was a man who always listened to the voice of God, he was deeply sensitive to his secret will, he was a man attentive to the messages that came to him from the depths of his heart and from on high. He did not persist in following his own plan for his life, he did not allow bitterness to poison his soul; rather, he was ready to make himself available to the news that, in a such a bewildering way, was being presented to him. And thus, he was a good man. He did not hate, and he did not allow bitterness to poison his soul. Yet how many times does hatred, or even dislike and bitterness poison our souls! And this is harmful. Never allow it: he is an example of this. And Joseph thereby became even freer and greater. By accepting himself according to God’s design, Joseph fully finds himself, beyond himself. His freedom to renounce even what is his, the possession of his very life, and his full interior availability to the will of God challenge us and show us the way.

Let us make ourselves ready to celebrate Christmas by contemplating Mary and Joseph: Mary, the woman full of grace who had the courage to entrust herself totally to the Word of God; Joseph, the faithful and just man who chose to believe the Lord rather than listen to the voices of doubt and human pride. With them, let us walk together toward Bethlehem.




Pope Francis         18.12.18    Holy Mass Santa Marta     Matthew 1: 18-25
https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/st-joseph/18.12.18.jpg

The day’s Gospel reading (Mt 1:18-25) presents Joseph as a righteous man, who observed the Law, worked hard, was humble, and loved Mary. When first faced with something he did not understand, he preferred to step back but God revealed to him his mission. So St. Joseph took up his new role wholeheartedly, and helped raise the Son of God, in silence, without judging, without speaking poorly of others, and without gossiping.

He helped him grow and develop. So he looked for a place for the child to be born. He looked after him, helped him grow, and taught him to work: many things… in silence. He never took possession of the child for himself. He silently let him grow. He let him grow: This idea could help us immensely, we who by nature always want to stick our noses in everything, especially in the lives of others… And we start gossiping, talking… But he let him grow, silently watching over him and helping him.

Many parents have the wise attitude of caring for their children without being overbearing. They have the capacity to wait, without immediately yelling if the child makes a mistake. It’s important to know how to wait, before saying something to help them grow.

God has the same patient attitude with His children, since He waits in silence.

St. Joseph’s was a practical man but kept his heart open like “a man of dreams” and not like a dreamer.

Dreams are a privileged place to seek after truth, because there we cannot defend ourselves against the truth. They come, and God speaks through dreams. Not always, because often it is our subconscious that comes forth, but many times God choses to speak through dreams. He often did so in the Bible. In dreams. But Joseph was a man of dreams, but not a dreamer, okay? He wasn’t abstract. A dreamer is something different. It’s someone who believes… goes off… has his head in the clouds, and doesn’t have his feet on the ground. Joseph had his feet on the ground. But he was open-minded.

Don’t lose the ability to dream the future. Each of us needs to dream about our family, our children, and our parents: to imagine how I would like their lives to go. Priests, too, need to dream about what we want for the faithful. Dream as the young dream, who are ‘unabashed’ in their dreams and find their path there. Do not lose the ability to dream, because to dream is to open the door to the future. Be fruitful in the future.



Pope Francis   22.12.19  Angelus, St Peter's Square     4th Sunday of Advent  Year A        Matthew 1: 18-24

Pope Francis Angelus about St Joseph 22.12.19

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

On this fourth and final Sunday of
Advent, the Gospel (cf. Mt 1:18-24) guides us to Christmas through the experience of St. Joseph, a person who is apparently in second place, but whose attitude contains the entirety of Christian wisdom. He, together with John the Baptist and Mary, is one of the people that the liturgy proposes to us for the time of Advent; and of the three he is the most modest. One who does not preach, does not speak, but tries to do God's will; and performs it in an evangelical style and the style of the Beatitudes. We think, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven"(Mt 5:3). And Joseph is poor because he lives of the essential, he lives by his work; it is the poverty typical of those who are aware of their dependence for everything on God in and place all their trust in Him.

Today's Gospel narrative presents a situation that is embarrassing and a conflicting situation. Joseph and
Mary are engaged; but they do not live together yet, but she is expecting a child through God's working. Joseph, faced with this surprise, is naturally disturbed but instead of reacting impulsively or punitively – as was customary, the law protected him – he seeks a solution that respects the dignity and integrity of his beloved Mary. The Gospel says: "Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly." (v. 19). Joseph knew well that if he denounced his bride-to-be, he would expose her to serious consequences, even death. He has full confidence in Mary, whom he chose as his bride. He doesn't understand, but he's looking for another solution.

This inexplicable circumstance causes him to question their relationship; therefore, with great suffering, he decides to separate himself from Mary without causing scandal. But the Angel of the Lord intervenes to tell him that the solution he has proposed is not the one that God wants. Indeed, the Lord opens a new path for him, a path of union, love and happiness, and he says to him: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary, your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. " (v. 20).

At this point, Joseph totally trusts God, obeys the words of the Angel, and takes Mary into his home. It is precisely this unwavering trust in God that has allowed him to accept a humanly difficult and, in a sense, incomprehensible situation. Joseph understands, through faith, that the baby conceived in Mary's womb is not his son, but he is the Son of God and he, Joseph, will be his guardian, fully assuming his earthly paternity. The example of this humble and wise man teaches us to lift up our gaze and look beyond. It is a question of recovering the surprising logic of God who, far from small or large calculations, is made of an openness to new horizons, towards Christ and his Word.

May the Virgin Mary and her chaste husband Joseph help us to listen to Jesus who comes, and who asks that we listen to Him regarding our plans and choices.




Pope Francis  19.03.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae) Solemnity of St Joseph - Lectionary Cycle II     Matthew 1: 16,18-21,24

Pope Francis Talks about St Joseph 19.03.20

The Gospel (Mt 1:16.18-21.24) tells us that Joseph was a just man, a man of faith, who lived the faith. A man who can be found on the list of all the people of faith that we have recalled today in the office of readings (see Letter the Jews, Chapter 11); those people who have lived the faith as the foundation of what they hoped for, as the guarantee of what they did not see, and the proof of what they did not see.

Joseph is a man of faith: because of this he was just. Not only because he believed, but also because he lived that faith. He was a just man. He was chosen to educate a man who was a true man but who was also God: only God could have educated such a person but there wasn't anyone like this. The Lord chose a just man, a man of faith. A man capable of being a man and also capable of speaking to God, of entering into the mystery of God. And this was Joseph's life. To live his profession, his life as a man and enter into the mystery. A man capable dialoguing with the mystery of God. He wasn't a dreamer. He entered into the mystery. With the same naturalness with which he carried on his work, with this precision of his craft: he was able to adjust an angle precisely on the wood, he knew how to do it; was able to lower, to sand down a millimetre of wood, of the surface of the wood. Right, it was accurate. But he was also able to get into the mystery that he could not control.

This is Joseph's holiness: to carry on his life, his work with righteousness, with professionalism; and at the same time, to enter into the mystery. When the Gospel tells us about Joseph's dreams, it makes us understand this: that he entered into the mystery.

I am thinking of the Church today on this solemnity of St. Joseph. Are our faithful, our bishops, our priests, our consecrated and consecrated fathers, our Popes: are they capable of entering into the mystery? Or do they need to be in control through rules and regulations which defend them against what they can't control? When the Church loses the possibility of entering into the mystery, she loses the ability to adore. Prayer of adoration can only come when one enters into the mystery of God.

Let us ask the Lord for the grace that the Church can live in the concreteness of daily life and also in the "concreteness" – in quotation marks – of the mystery. If it cannot do so, it will be a half a Church, it will be a pious association, carried out by rules and regulations but without the sense of adoration. Entering the mystery is not dreaming; entering into the mystery is precisely this: adoration. Entering into the mystery is to do today what we will do in the future, when we will have arrived in the presence of God: to adore.

May the Lord grant His Church this grace.
I invite all those who are far away to follow Mass on television to do spiritual communion.





Pope Francis  01.05.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)     Friday of the Third Week of Easter     Genesis 1: 26 - 2: 3

Pope Francis Talks about Creation and Work 01.05.20

Today, which is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, also the day of workers, we pray for all workers. For all of us. So that no one lacks work and that everyone is justly paid and can enjoy the dignity of work and the beauty of rest.

God created. (Gen 1:27). A Creator. He created the world, created man, and gave man a mission: to manage, to work, to carry on creation. And the word "work" is the one that the Bible uses to describe this activity of God: "He completed the work he had been doing and rested on the seventh day from all the work he had done," (Gen 2:2), and he gave this activity to man: "You must do this, watch over this, that other, you must work with me to create this world – it is as if he said it – for it to continue." So much so that the work is only the continuation of God's work: human work is the vocation of man received from God at the end of the creation of the universe.

And work is what makes man like God, because with work man is creator, he is able to create, to create so many things, even to create a family to move forward. Man is a creator and creates with work. This is the vocation. And the Bible says that "God looked at everything he had made and found it very good." (Gen 1:31). That is, work has within itself a goodness and creates the harmony of things – beauty, goodness – and involves man in everything: in his thought, in his act, everything. Man is involved in working. It is man's first vocation: to work. And this gives dignity to man. The dignity that makes him like God. The dignity of work.

Once, in a Caritas centre, an employee of Caritas said to a man who had no job and went to look for something for the family, : "At least he can bring bread home" – "But this is not enough for me, it is not enough", was the answer: "I want to earn bread to bring it home". He lacked the dignity, the dignity of "making" the bread his, with his work, and bringing him home. The dignity of work, which is so trampled on, unfortunately. In history we read the brutality that they did with slaves: they brought them from Africa to America – I think of that story that touches my land – and we say "how barbaric" ... But even today there are many slaves, so many men and women who are not free to work: they are forced to work, to survive, nothing more. They are slaves: forced labour . They are forced, unjust, unpaid and poorly paid jobs that lead man to live with trampled dignity. There are many, many in the world. Many. In the papers a few months ago we read, in that country of Asia, how a gentleman had beaten his employee who was earning less than half a dollar a day, because he had hurt one thing. 

Today's slavery is our "in-dignity", because it takes away dignity from men and women, and all of us. "No, I work, I have my dignity": yes, but your brothers, don't. "Yes, Father, it is true, but this, as it is so far away, it is difficult for me to understand it. But here among us ...": also here, with us. Here, with us. Think of the workers, the day-to-day people, that work for a minimum wage and not eight, but twelve, fourteen hours a day: this happens today, here. All over the world, but also here. Think of the domestic worker who does not have a just wage, who has no social security care, who has no pension: this is not only the case in Asia. It is here.

Every injustice that is done to a working person is to trample on human dignity, even on the dignity of the one who does the injustice: the level is lowered and we end up in that tension between a dictator and a slave. Instead, the vocation that God gives us is so beautiful: to create, to re-create, to work. But this can only be done when the conditions are just and the dignity of the person is respected.

Today we join many men and women, believers and non-believers, who commemorate Worker's Day, Labour Day, for those who fight for justice at work, for those – good entrepreneurs – who manage work with justice, even if they themselves lose. Two months ago I heard a businessman on the phone, here in Italy, asking me to pray for him because he didn't want to fire anyone and said, "Because firing one of them is like firing myself." 

This conscience of so many good employers, who take care of workers as if they were their children. Let us pray for them. And we ask St. Joseph - with this beautiful image with the tools of work in hand - to help us fight for the dignity of work, so that there is work for all and that it is dignified work. Not slave labour. May this be our prayer today.