Saint Peter's Square
Wednesday, 1st May 2013
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
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.
I am pleased to greet the many pilgrimage groups present at
today’s Audience, including those from the Archdiocese of Gwangju in South
Korea. Upon all the English-speaking visitors, including those from England,
Scotland, Denmark, Canada and the United States, I invoke the joy and peace of
the Risen Lord.
Finally I would like to address, as is customary, the young
people, the sick and the newlyweds. Dear young people, maybe
you be in love with Christ in order to follow him with passion and fidelity.
You, dear sick people, immerse your suffering in the mystery of love of the
Blood of the Redeemer. And you, dear newlyweds, with your mutual and reciprocal
love, may you be a meaningful sign of love of Christ for the Church. Thank you.