The Most Rev. Dominic Yeboah Nyarko, the Catholic Bishop of Techiman, celebrates May Day with Students and Staff of Mount Carmel Girl’s Senior High School. The May Day Celebration coincided with the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker. The Bishop had the opportunity to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on 45 students of the school.
In his homily, the bishop congratulated the candidates for allowing themselves to be formed and taught for this sacrament. He expressed gratitude to Rev. Fr. Martin Oduro Bilson, the Chaplain of this school and his team of catechists and teachers, who volunteered to catechize and prepare these candidates adequately for the sacrament of confirmation.
The Bishop explained that every first day of May (otherwise known as May Day or Labor Day), has long been dedicated to all working people all over the world. It was Pope Pius XII who instituted the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, on this May Day to provide for all workers, a saintly example to enable us to grasp the meaning and the divine purpose of human labor.
Reflecting on the Genesis story, as recounted in the first reading, the Bishop iterated that, God is the first worker par excellence. He first worked hard to create a very good and better world, and created man in his own image and likeness, from the dust of the earth. God gave his creative power to man to ’till the earth and to subdue it’ (Gen 1:26-30). Human labor, therefore, becomes a share or participation in Gods creative power. Jesus, identified as a son of a carpenter, came to work for our salvation, and said strongly that, the work he does is what his father does, and he continues to work because God the father is always at work (cf. John 5:17).
The Bishop exhorted all workers, especially Christian workers, not to see human labour as a punishment or a curse imposed on us by God. ‘It is erroneous to see work in this way’. Many people erroneously interpret Genesis Chapt 3 (vv 17-19) to mean that, God used work to punish humanity, for disobeying him. That is not true. In actual fact, God gave man work to till the earth, even before man sinned against God. The truth is that, the sin of man only made human labor very difficult and sometimes unrewarding. Yet, Jesus has come to purify human labor and restored to its original holiness.
The Bishop decried the worrying mentality among many contemporary Ghanaians society who still see human labor as a punishment and consider work only in terms of the remuneration or salary. This kind of African mentality, according to the Bishop, only makes us unable to give off our best and dedicate our all to the work we do. We have to understand that human labor is a vocation, a gift from God the first worker. If Christian workers, seek to work hard to glorify God in the work we do, Ghana will become the best place we all desire.
Bishop Dominic called on ‘lazy workers’ who go to work when they like and close when they like and spend the greatest chunk of our working time gossiping, browsing our phones and computers, watching televisions and idling about unproductively, to repent and appreciate work as a gift from God. He prayed all workers to stop cheating their employers, embezzling public funds and misusing government properties.
He used the opportunity to also encourage the students, who are learning and forming themselves to become workers in the future to take their studies and life in school very seriously. Students ought to know that, their work and actions in the future depends strongly on what you do here and now. ‘If you are a lazy student, you will surely become a lazy employee in future; if you refuse to learn hard and seek to cheat in exams, you will definitely become corrupt civil or public servants and corrupt politicians in future. If you don’t take very good care of school properties, you will grow and misuse government properties, and misappropriate public funds’
The Bishop prayed for all workers in Ghana and asked for the intercession of St. Joseph the Worker for all working people. He prayed God to give success to every work of our hands.