A Precious Virtue

Matthew 13:54-58
Gn 1:26–2:3 / Ps 90

Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? they asked. Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?
(Matthew 13:54-55)

Let us exalt the humble worker
On this special day remember:
God, our Lord and Almighty Maker
Was just once a lowly carpenter.

Coming to his hometown, Jesus began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother’s name Mary, and aren’t His brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. (Matthew 13:54-58)

Reflection

In the small town of Nazareth, everyone knew each other, and every citizen there was expected to follow certain standards according to their status in life. Jesus was “just the son of a carpenter”, so when He came back to His hometown after a year of absence, and started to preach in their synagogue, the leading members of the community were riled with jealousy and prejudice. Those belonging to a higher social level probably thought, “Where in the world did this uneducated worker get these ideas, and the gall to teach us in our synagogue?” They were filled with contempt because they could not accept that this carpenter’s son was better than them. And yet, not for one instance did Jesus ever seek praise from His peers nor greatness for all His wisdom and power. His humility, as much as His power was unsurpassed. But His town mates could not see this. They were blinded by their bias and hypocrisy.

Today we celebrate Labor Day, the only day of the year when we take time out from our busy schedules to give honor to the lowly workforces of the world. Have you ever considered that without these humble workers, we would never be able to enjoy food on our tables, or the clothes that we wear, or the homes that provide us comfort and shelter? And yet so many people look down on these laborers who render the services that make our lives comfortable and secure. The plumber came to fix our clogged toilet, and after finishing the job presented his bill for a thousand Pesos. At first I thought the fee was a bit high for a half day’s work, but later I realized that it was not just the great relief the man had given us that we were paying for, but his dignity in taking on such a lowly job. Besides, as my wife reminded me, nobody else could take on the job; we had to hire a specialist to do it.

All of us are laborers, either in this world or for the kingdom of God. And most of us are specialists in the field or profession that God created us for. But none of us can boast about his expertise or proficiency, because our talents or abilities are gifts from God, our Creator. Nor should we look down on those whom we consider to be below our station. We all have a purpose to serve in this life, and in God’s eyes, we are all the same. Jesus has shown us, however, that whatever position we may have in life, it is in taking the path of humility that will lead us to His kingdom’s glory.

Teach us, Father God, to be humble in all our ways, so that as our Lord Jesus taught us, we may attain perfection according to Your will. Amen.

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