Archbishop Charles Scicluna while preaching the panegyric on the occasion of the feast of St Publius reiterated one of the basic tenets of the social teaching of the Church that is there is no job that is less dignified than another as the value of work depends on the dignity of the human person.
Archbishop Scicluna was presiding the concelebrated Mass at the parish church of Floriana.
Mons Scicluna also referred to the burning down of the parish’s triumphal arch commemorating St Publius. He suggested that besides rebuilding it, the parishioners should also commit themselves to a social project in aid of the poor.
“Humans give dignity to work”
The Archbishop said that work gets its dignity not from the type of work done but from the fact that it is done by a human being as every human being has dignity. Therefore the conclusion is that there is no job that is less dignified than another.
Mgr. Scicluna buttressed his words about the ‘Gospel of Work’ by refering to Laborem Exercens, the encyclical letter penned by Pope St John Paul II. Christ, God made man, dignify work by spending most of his life working as a carpenter, wrote the Pope.
Archbishop Scicluna spoke how Saint Publius who was governor (protus) of Malta when Saint Paul ship wrecked on the island was familiar with the worldview of the Roman Empire. This was challenged by Saint Paul. The prisoner of the Roman Empire healed Publius’s father but, said the Archbishop, Paul gave Publius something more important: a new perspective on the world and the dignity of each human being.
Archbishop Scicluna continued saying that Jesus the carpenter was crucified by Romans and Saint Publius, being part of the Roman system of governance knew very well that society was stratified and so was work. There was work which the citizens did and there were other types of work that were only given to slaves as it was considered to be less dignified.
Publius learned a new perspective on human dignity and work from the crucified Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth and not from the empire, said the Archbishop.
He added that we have to renew ourselves by the genuine spirit of St Publius and the values he treasured including equal opportunities and the equal dignity of all citizens.
Today a wooden arch and tomorrow?
Mons Scicluna also referred to the burning down of Saint Publius’ triumphal arch, part of the extraordinary patrimony of the parish.
He exhorted the congregation to learn to react against those who want them to forget Saint Publius’ values adding that they should not accept violence without reaction.
“We have to rebuild what has been broken, and regenerate what has been burnt.”
He said the arch should be rebuilt but should also be accompanied by the setting up of a socially beneficial initiative dedicated to St Publius. At the same time believers should strive to pass through the same conversion that St. Publius passed through.
He said that believers should, like St Publius be persuaded that Jesus who healed Publius’ father will empower believers to strive for the dignity of every human being without distinction, to be generous and give everyone the same opportunities, and to not tell apart between citizens and foreigners. These are Publius’ values and if we are going to rebuild the arch, let us rebuild it with these values in our hearts.
Publius led by example– Auxiliary Bishop
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi said that Publius led by example. He said that Publius clearly showed the values that he held dear to his heart through his actions. During the mass on the eve of the saint’s feast, the auxiliary bishop said that Publius is a mentor to everyone, leaders and followers alike.