Here’s a thought for May 3

Holy Redeemer Catholic Church

On May 1, the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Pope Francis took the occasion to address the world audience with concerns for labor and laborers. Below is a commentary from one of the world news agencies.

Pope Francis launched an urgent appeal to Christians and all people of goodwill worldwide to take decisive steps to end slave labor, during his general audience today, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and World Labor Day.

Pope Francis told the crowd of more than 70,000: “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 labor,” the work that enslaves. How many people worldwide are victims of this type of slavery, in which 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 faith and all men and women of good will for a decisive choice to combat trafficking in persons, which includes “slave labor.”

Speaking directly to the youth within the audience, Pope Francis said: “I would like to speak especially to you young people: be committed to your daily duties, your study, your work, to relationships of friendship, to helping towards others; your future also depends on how you live these precious years of your life. Do not be afraid of commitment, sacrifice and do not look with fear towards the future, keep your hope alive; there is always a light on the horizon.”

The Pope was referring to his earlier reflection on the current employment crisis that is afflicting many nations worldwide. Pointing to the figure of St. Joseph the Worker, Pope Francis said: “Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. Work, to use an image, “anoints” us with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us like God, who has worked and still works, who always acts (cf. Jn 5:17); it gives us the ability to maintain ourselves, our family, to contribute to the growth of our nation. And here I think of the difficulties which, in various countries, today afflicts the world of work and businesses; I think of how many, and not just young people, are unemployed, many times because of a purely economic conception of society, which seeks selfish profit, beyond the parameters 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 had moments of difficulty, but he never lost faith and was able to overcome them, in the certainty that God never abandons us.”