Tagle honors workers: ‘You are the face of God’
MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Thursday, May 1, honored the country’s workforce, especially those who have not been tempted by corruption despite their meager pay.
In his Labor Day message written entirely in Filipino, Tagle called workers national treasures responsible for shaping the country’s path.
“You are the real treasure of the nation. Your hands – through your hard work and skill – mold the future of the nation. Our noble workers are truly admirable – they who work quietly and diligently, and even with the little money they earn, do not get tempted by the widespread culture of corruption,” he said.
Tagle said the Church teaches the importance of labor and cited the Genesis 1:28. The verse read: “God blessed them, saying to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that move on earth.’”
He explained, “My brothers, the Church has a deep regard for labor. The Church teaches that through labor, we become God’s partners in his continuing creation of the world….Through it, we become the face of God. It is not just a job or an instrument to feed our families; it is a path to holiness, to God.”
Tagle said Filipino workers face many challenges, and are driven to work abroad because of the lack of jobs, the absence of security and low wages in the country.
“Millions of Filipinos are forced to take their chance in other countries despite the long-term danger this brings to our families and society. All of this, according to Pope Francis, is the handiwork of the repressive global economy where money is being used to control and not to serve (Evangelii Gaudium, 57),” he said.
Tagle said, however, that a united labor sector can surmount any challenge. He also urged other sectors to support the welfare of Filipino workers.
He reiterated the challenge of the Church, in the Year of the Laity, for lay people to become “heroes and saints,” and for others to join the laity.
“It is today that we celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph, the worker. May he be an inspiration to the laity. In his being a carpenter, he supported his family, Mary and Jesus. But what they were quietly building was the Kingdom of God,” Tagle said. – Rappler.com