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Catholics commemorate St. Joseph The Worker as Priest tasks men on parenting

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THOMAS IMONIKHE

 

Catholics in Nigeria joined their counterparts across the globe to commemorate Saint Joseph The Worker, the foster father of  Jesus Christ on Wednesday, with a charge by the Rev. Fr. Vincent Agih on men to teach their children the virtue of hard work and dignity in labour.

Rev. Agih, the Associate Parish Priest of St. Brendan Catholic Church Ijoko Ota, Ogun state, who gave the advice also said it became imperative following the get rich quick attitude of some youths that believe that there is a short cut to success other than through hard work, diligence and staying connected to Christ.

 

Recall that the commemoration of Saint Joseph The Worker, the patron saint of the Catholic Men Organization of Nigeria is observed every May 1, which is also set aside as the International Workers Day.

However, in his homily, the Priest described work as a gift from God and a creative means given to man which nobody should be ashamed of, adding that St. Joseph as the foster father of Jesus from Nazareth took labour as something to be proud of and not as punishment or sin.

He said the gospel reading from John 15 called men to bear fruit and stay connected to God stressing that no matter how efficient “we are in our different works, no matter how astute we are in our way of thinking, when you are disconnected from Christ, you are fruitless. If you are disconnected from Christ, you will just be working in vain”.

According to him,  “The Psalmist says in vain does the builder build if the Lord doesn’t build a house; in vain does a watchman keep vigil, if the Lord doesn’t guard a city. So our fruitfulness is not based on how smart we are as workers, not based on how astute we are in our ways but depends on how we are planted in Christ and God.

 

“St. Joseph is the father of Jesus, a young man who was in Nazareth, who took labour as something to be proud of. Work is not punishment and work is not sin, it’s not something we should be ashamed of and that is what St. Joseph taught us.

“St Joseph already knew God has placed him in a very high pedestal as the foster father of the son of God but continued to do what brought food to his table. Joseph was a proud carpenter, a man who took so much dignity in labour and he taught his son also to learn the trade while growing up.

“Many of us today see work as a stress or something to be ashamed of, and that is why there is so much of shameful situations where people really don’t want to do anything but want to have everything; people who don’t want to do something for themselves or family, but  want to have everything that somebody who has been working has, because they think that work is for the older people or work is for some people who do not know how to be smart.

 

“Work is a gift from God and it is a way of the creative part given to us by  God. And so none of us should consider work as something to be ashamed of. The name Joseph implies increase, it means to add to. So all Parishioners have been called to increase like Joseph, increase in his life, so the work that we do should help us improve in fruitfulness.

Continuing he noted, “When you go back to that gospel reading, it says bear fruit. That is what we are here to do on earth. In our spiritual life, in our physical life, in our work, that is what we are called to do. And to bear fruit, we are first of all to be connected to God, to keep our eyes on what we do. We are called to bear fruit, putting our spiritual and physical life in our work, in anything we are doing, we are called to bear fruit.

“It is also a call to all of you members of CMO to also teach the younger ones that there is dignity in labour. There are so many persons now, who believe that there is no reason to work, they also want to play all sorts of bets, they just want to wake up and put every permutations and wait for some N10m to appear in their account so that they know they are smart.

“Go out and work, teach your children how to work. A man who works knows he is going to have stable income, a man who doesn’t work finds every miraculous ways just to find some money but there is no flying money any where; even the bet that you are playing that is bringing some millions of naira sometimes, you can count how many times you have put your money and it has been lost, you can count the number of people who have put their money and it has been lost just because they are playing trial and error.

 

“St. Joseph tells us to sit down and work, teaching the younger ones to work. Jesus Christ was trained to do his work and that is why he was able to do his work as a minister of the gospel well. Let us learn to appreciate work, teach our children to work, the fact that you are rich and the children in the family have nothing to lack doesn’t mean you should not teach them the relevance of work, my father’s money is not my money as the saying goes.

“Teach your son, your daughter to be responsible people, don’t spoil them with so much affluence because you have already established yourself. Help them know that they will also grow up to have people under them as co-workers or colleagues or placed under people to work and if they don’t have this sense of work, they can’t really do anything in life.

“So we pray for ourselves today, for all of us who continue to go out everyday, may God, who sees our efforts bless the work of our hands, may He keep us connected to himself in our bid to succeed, to be faithful. May God not make our hearts be disconnected from Him through Christ our lord amen”.

 

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