Monsignor Laurent Percerou, Bishop of Moulins (03) was chief celebrant at the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker on the 1st of May 2017. Here is the hoMgr Laurent Perceroumily that he gave in the afternoon ….


I would like to speak to you about Nazareth, the village where Joseph and Mary lived in a very real way the advice of Paul to the Colossians : « Whatever your work is, put your heart into it, as if it were for the Lord, and not for men, knowing that the Lord will repay you by making yu his heirs. » (3 : 23-24)

Besides, we here are a bit like Nazareth ! The name Kermaria, « village of Mary », in this chapel dedicated to Joseph … and we know that that is not by chance … Sister Marie de St Charles, when the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus was only a few years old, invited the community of sisters to live in the spirit of Nazareth. SIt was she who placed the Congregation under the patronage of St Joseph.

I am very happy to be with you, my sisters, on this 1st of May to come as a pilgrim to this « breton Nazareth » and to pray to St Joseph for all our intentions. This spirit of Nazareth is a programme of life for each one of us, so let take the time to look at it in detail.

The hidden life of Jesus at Nazareth

The years in Nazareth were for Jesus the « hidden » years, 30 years about which we know nothing, but nevertheless 30 decisive years because it is here, in this modest village in Galilee that Jesus grew up under the watchful eye of Mary and Joseph. The Gospel of Luke tells us that he grew in maturity and wisdom. He grew in his love for the Father, in this particular and unique place where he discovered little by little that he was the well-loved Son, the awaited Messiah, the likeness even of God, that which made him say, « Who has seen me has seen the Father », and again, « The Father and I, we are one ». Yet Nazareth could hardly be said to be a great intellectual centre ; there was no great rabbinic school, no rabbi of renown, very much the opposite ! Remember in the Gospel of John, Phillip, after having met Jesus, goes to find Nathanael and says to him, «We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote ; he is Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth. » And Nathanael replies, « From Nazareth ? Can anything good come from that place? ” (Jn : 43-51)

Such is the way of incarnation : it is one of being buried in a modest and despised village. God took flesh as a Nazarean, when his Temple was in Jerusalem, in Judea … He could at least have been born to a family of temple high priests, of scribes or influential pharisees … He lived and grew up in an unknown small town in an ill-considered region. It is this that gives all of its sense to the spirit of Nazareth.

Taking humanity seriously

If we take seriously this hiddenness of Jesus in Nazareth, and in doing so take seriously his incarnation, then we ought to take seriously this humanity in which God revealed himself. From the day of the Annunciation, every man, every woman, has become an icon of Christ, the face of God that is revealed, in a well and truly ordinary Nazarean. To honour His sacred humanity is thus quite simply to honour humanity, this ordinary humanity that has become sacred because it is saved by Him. To honour his sacred humanity is thus to accept to be hidden in this humanity so that it may discover that it is inhabited by the Son of God, in the grip of His love that is capable of overturning everything, even death. To honour his sacred humanity is in fact to let oneself by seized by the spirit of Nazareth.

The mission of the Church

The mission of the Church, and therefore of each baptised Christian, is to live infused with this Spirit of Nazareth, the same that inhabited the hearts of Mary and Joseph. They brought Jesus up, without fuss, in the heart of an unknown village, sharing the daily life of the population of Nazareth, and so opening him up to his mission as the Son of God. The Church has a mission to open hearts to the tenderness of the Father shown in Jesus Christ and to thus show that he is truly the Living one. It has a mission to show that he is a faithful and sure companion who gives sense to our existence even when it is marked by hardships and failures. The Church must accept to be fully human and to humbly serve, as Christ did, the men and women to whom it is sent.

Living this hiddennes is thus to beome the companions of our contemporaries in order to reveal Christ and to make Him known. We not do this by making great declarations but by sharing the concerns and worries of those who in work or seeking work, those who are affected by the weight of age or illness. We do it by being close to and listening to children and young people, helping them to construct a world where they can fulfill themselves. That is where the spirit of Nazareth leads us. Our witness will speak of the Resuscitated one on condition that, as Paul wrote to the Colossians, « All that we say or do, we do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him». (3 : 17)

Living as signs of Christ

Yes, we all have to live this spirit of Nazareth, we all have to be signs of the Christ who has been the companion on the road of this humanity, a large part of which is wounded, suffering, ignored. We have to take the same road as him, that is to say of free giving. The Spirit of Nazareth, as you have understood, sends us back to the essential : announcing the Gospel is not a question of letting fall from on high a message, however beautiful or great it may be. It is rather one of awakening hearts to the presence of the Resuscitated one who is there, in each one. May the humble Joseph, who knew how to efface himself so that the Son of God could grow, help us to serve our brothers and sisters in truth so that they too may truly discover the brother who will lead them to true Life.

Mgr Laurent PERCEROU


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Un peu


notre famille



Inscrivez-vous si vous désirez recevoir la lettre d’information de la Congrégation

Nous n’envoyons pas de messages indésirables ! Lisez notre politique de confidentialité pour plus d’informations.

Share This