Thought of the day
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wednesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

"Is he not the carpenter?"

Saint John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005
Encyclical Letter Laborem exercens, § 26

"Is he not the carpenter?"

The truth that by means of work man participates in the activity of God himself, his Creator, was given particular prominence by Jesus Christ—the Jesus at whom many of his first listeners in Nazareth "were astonished, saying: `Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him?... Is not this the carpenter?'"

For Jesus not only proclaimed but first and foremost fulfilled by his deeds the "gospel," the word of eternal Wisdom, that had been entrusted to him. Therefore this was also "a  gospel of work," because he who proclaimed it was himself a man of work, a craftsman like Joseph of Nazareth. And if we do not find in his words a special command to work—but rather, on one occasion, a prohibition against too much anxiety about work and life (Mt 6,25-34), at the same time the eloquence of the life of Christ is unequivocal: He belongs to the "working world," he has appreciation and respect for human work. It can indeed be said that he looks with love upon human work and the different forms that it takes, seeing in each one of these forms a particular facet of man's likeness with God, the Creator and Father.

Is it not he who says: "My Father is the vinedresser." (Jn 15,1) … In his parables on the Kingdom of God Jesus Christ constantly refers to human work: that of the shepherd, the farmer, the doctor, the sower, the householder, the servant, the steward, the fisherman, the merchant, the laborer. He also speaks of the various forms of women's work. He compares the apostolate to the manual work of harvesters or fishermen… [Here is] an important complement to the great though discreet gospel of work that we find in the life and parables of Christ, in what Jesus "did and taught." (Acts 1,1)

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