If the man Jesus learned to say ‘daddy,’ ‘father,’ to His Father Who He knew as God, He learned it from life, from the witness of Joseph, the man who took care of Him.
St. Joseph gives us three key lessons as we walk with him to Bethlehem, suggested Pope Francis today during his homily for morning Mass at the Casa Santa Martha.
Jesus’ father on earth knew:
“how to walk in darkness,” “how to listen to the voice of God,” and “how to go forward in silence.”
Speaking of Joseph’s struggle upon learning of Mary’s pregnancy, the pope said:
“Joseph fought within himself; in that struggle, the voice of God [is heard]: ‘But get up’ — that ‘Get up’ [which is heard] so many times in the Bible at the beginning of a mission — ‘Take Mary, bring her to your home. Take charge of the situation; take this situation in hand, and go forward.’ Joseph didn’t go to his friends to be comforted, he didn’t go to a psychiatrist so that he could interpret the dream. No… He believed. And he went forward. He took the situation in hand. But what must you take in hand, Joseph? What was the situation? What was it that Joseph had to take up? Two things: fatherhood, and mystery.”
Fatherhood and mystery
Joseph had to take charge of “fatherhood,” the pope reflected:
“He took on a paternity that was not his own: it came from the Father. And he went ahead with that fatherhood and all it signified: not only supporting Mary and the Child, but also raising the Child, teaching Him his trade, bringing Him up to manhood. ‘Take up a paternity that is not yours, but God’s.’ And this, without saying a word. In the Gospel, there is not a single word spoken by Joseph. A man of silence, of silent obedience.”
Joseph is also the man who “takes in hand” the mystery.
“Joseph took in hand this mystery and helps: with silence, with his work, up to the moment when God called him to Himself. It is said of this man, who took up fatherhood and mystery, that he was the shadow of the Father: the shadow of God the Father. And if the man Jesus learned to say ‘daddy,’ ‘father,’ to His Father Who He knew as God, He learned it from life, from the witness of Joseph, the man who took care of [Him], the man who raised [Him], the man who carried forward every paternity and every mystery, but took nothing for himself.”
This, Pope Francis said, is “the great Joseph,” who God needed to carry forward “the mystery of leading the people anew to the new Creation.”