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EDUCATION

Saint Joseph – Father, the silent apostle

January 13, 2022 12:39 pm
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(CGOL) In the Gospel (Luke 7:28), Jesus said to the crowd: “There is no one greater among men born of a mother than John”, for he was the one who prepared the way for the Son of God. , is a messenger to proclaim the Good News to all nations. But in human history, Saint Joseph is the only man who is called “Father” by the Son of God, honored to reflect the image of God the Father, in the Fatherhood of Jesus. At the same time, as a creature, he collaborated in God’s redemptive work through “obedience to faith” and became a silent Apostle who, through his prayer life, contributed to the development of the world. Kingdom of God and salvation of souls.

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1 1 The original name Joseph means “God increased” (Gen 30: 22-24) and God accomplished great things in Joseph’s life through dreams. Saint Joseph helped build the dream, according to God’s way, of a Messiah to be born, and would free mankind from the bondage of sin.

The angel informed Joseph in a dream: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child she conceived is by the power of the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you must name him Jesus, for it is he who will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:20-21). Although engaged to Mary, they have not yet lived together. Faced with the angel’s announcement, Joseph did not respond to a word, not saying “Yes” like Mary, but “acted in obedience to faith”. He accepted God’s word to him, let God work, and became involved in his life. In this way, the mystery of the Incarnation is fully realized. The Son of God temporarily put aside the throne of the Crown Prince to take on the human condition, was born into a family with a loving and teaching father and mother. Joseph has represented all men of all times, given the great honor of being the Father of Jesus, the Father of the “Gospel” and also the Father of “Hope”.

However, Father Joseph did not intervene in the formation of the body of Jesus, but through “the power of the Holy Spirit”. From then on, in Jesus there were two natures: “the divine nature” and the “human nature”. That is why we often call Saint Joseph Jesus’ foster father, spiritual father or foster father. But when it comes to Joseph’s fatherhood, I like to call him the “virgin Father”[1], because except for the physical aspect, Father Joseph fully performed the responsibility of a father towards his children. himself, reflecting God’s fatherhood. It was He who wanted the Son to know the human father and let him guide and teach. Joseph’s paternity is one of the miracles associated with the Mystery of the Incarnation. From there, the “carpenter” of Nazareth became the Father of Jesus, when he himself was the image of God the heavenly Father, and represented the Father in his role.

Fatherhood is also expressed by naming the Child Jesus. According to the angel, he needed to be the Father of the Child because he was “the Son of David”, so that the Child Jesus was accepted into the descendant of David. (Mt 1:16-17). Furthermore, naming the baby Jesus is not only an act of civil status, but also an act of faith. The child born is called Jesus, because it is he who will save his people from their sins. (Mt 1:22).

2Father Joseph is the head of the Holy Family, given the authority by God himself to take care of and preserve Mary and Jesus in their infancy. This reminds me of the rudder in a ship. The rudder is a circle placed at the top of the ship, accounting for a negligible proportion, but a very important part, helping the ship to ice in the ocean. It was Saint Joseph who took Mary and the Child Jesus as refuge to Egypt, protecting, protecting and lovingly the Holy Family. After King Herod died, He brought the Son and Mary back to Galilee. When Jesus was 12 years old, Joseph took Jesus to the Temple of Jerusalem. Thereby, we see that Joseph is a strong, tough, masculine Father, suitable for the exercise of authority.

The authority he exercises, he consciously holds from God. He was very well aware that it was not a worthy title, for his virtue and the role of head of the family by no means an advantage in the field of moral perfection. He knows himself to be inferior to Mary and Jesus; he honestly admired them so as not to put himself above them. He viewed his authority as a God-given privilege. While acting as the head of the household, he grew even more humble, placing himself in the last place.

Father, also means educator[3]. Through education, fathers influence the souls of their children. There is nothing nobler than contributing to the training of one mind, one heart, one character.

People will always be amazed because God has a desire to learn something from man. However, we cannot raise the question “Does Saint Joseph have many subjects to teach Jesus? He had never attended school and his knowledge was limited to that of a village craftsman. But we realize that the essence of education lies in the personality of the teacher. Education is first of all communicating and sharing the core attitudes of the soul.

Jesus has within himself a knowledge base for self-education and self-development, as well as a close relationship with God. But what he received from Joseph was a human way of dealing with God, expressing to God adoration and love in human language, the word of Jewish piety.

I wonder if Joseph ever wanted Jesus to be his own biological son? How could he use all his love and sacrifice for Jesus so generously?

It can be said that Joseph played an important role in Jesus’ childhood. Thanks to Joseph, the “Gospel” was protected, nurtured, and reached humanity. However, the Bible does not record a single detail of what Joseph said. Joseph lived his entire life in obedience and doing the will of God. Thus, Joseph became the greatest and most special in human history.

Besides, few people know that Saint Joseph is the silent Apostle of the Church[4]. Apostles are the chosen disciples of Jesus, who are sent out to preach the Gospel throughout the world.

Joseph did not know about Pentecost, did not preach with enthusiasm, did not participate in the development of the Church, but He was an Apostle in a different way. He did not leave the village of Nadaret. He was the Apostle before the establishment of the Church to prepare and lead souls. Joseph could discern the sin of the “chosen people” offending God through the mouths of the prophets. He sympathizes with the spiritual despair of many human destinies awaiting a Savior. For that reason, he drew spiritual strength through sincere and fervent prayer, which worked on the heart of God. He is convinced that any invocation will be fruitful.

Saint Joseph inaugurated an apostolic form of prayer and the unfolding of the kingdom of God. His apostolic spirit enabled him to endure hardships and hardships with gentleness and tenderness. He is convinced that sufferings can contribute to the invisible help of souls and the expansion of the kingdom of God.
From the apostle Joseph’s ministry reminds me of the image of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus, a small, simple Carmelite nun who dedicated her life to God through a life of prayer and contemplation. He did not use the strength of his feet, did not use the talent of his mind to preach the Gospel, to talk about Christ to everyone. His strength came from a humble prayerful heart, an ardent love for the Church’s mission. Therefore, God acted, fulfilling his wishes. Therese brought a new spirit and new vitality to a life of contemplative prayer, contributing to the building and renewal of the Church, encouraging all Christians to trust in God’s mercy with a filial heart. It could be said, “God drew straight lines with curved lines”.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Saint Joseph’s proclaimed Patronus of the Church, let’s contemplate Saint Joseph – God who has reflected his own image on him. From there, Joseph fulfilled his mission as the Father of Jesus, educator and pillar of the Holy Family. The Church is wise to accept Saint Joseph as patron because it believes: “Saint Joseph is so powerful before God that one can say that in heaven he commands rather than begs”. At the same time, the Church does not forget to encourage the apostolic spirit, prayer life and sacrifice among the laity, contributing to bringing the Good News of the Lord to all nations.

Phanxicô Nguyễn Văn Hiệp – GPBC

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