May 1 – Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
St. Joseph (d. 1st century) was a descendant of the House of David. He was a layman, a builder by trade; traditionally a carpenter, but may have been a stone worker. He was the earthly spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the foster and adoptive father of Jesus Christ. He was a visionary who was visited by angels. He was noted for his willingness to immediately get up and do what God had told him to do. He died of natural causes, prior to the Passion of Christ.
- Patron Saint Index
“The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will.”
Happy Easter to everyone. It may seem a little late to greet you, but I am writing this on Holy Saturday. So at this time, we are still in Easter Vigil, and the thought of Triduum is still fresh in my mind.
Having just celebrated the Passion of our Lord on Good Friday, it never ceases to amaze me how much our Lord loves us. Enough to die for us, even though we continually offend Him!
You know what the kicker is? He did this willingly! Imagine that. If someone offends me, I am not sure I would have the grace to even inconvenience myself for that individual, never mind dying for them. So how amazing is our God?!
At the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He only asked that they love others as He has loved them. This made me pause, especially after reflecting on the first reading (Acts 11:1-18). The early Christians, who are probably Jewish, criticized Peter for ‘fraternizing’ with the pagans (non Jewish presumably).
Reflecting on my past behaviour, I asked myself how many times have I been judgmental and dismissive of people who don’t share my beliefs and opinions. If I am to be honest, way too many times for me to want to admit to. Not very loving on my part.
Even in today’s Gospel, Jesus said:‘I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, and one shepherd.’
Jesus specifically said that He will also lead the sheep that do not belong to the fold, and He will not leave them behind. He will love them and care for them just the same.
If we are to live according to our Lord’s wishes, shouldn’t we love all others who are different from us? Shouldn’t we be less judgmental and more accepting? That does not mean we do not correct any wrongdoings. It simply means that we do not correct with self-righteous intentions, but out of true love and concern of the wellbeing of the other. As our pastor tells us, we judge the actions, but NOT the person, as we don’t know the heart and mind of the person. Our job is to love until it hurts.
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” — Saint Teresa of Kolkata.
May you be blessed with love and more love, just as the Father has loved us, so that we love others.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: My most loving Lord, grant us the grace to love like you, without reservation, without counting costs. Help us to love others as ourselves and to love the Heavenly Father, above all else.
Thanksgiving: Most gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us Jesus, who suffered so willingly to atone for the whole world, specifically for me, undeserving though I be. For His sacrifice allows us to be adopted and to truly call You Father!
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