Josemaría Escrivá Obras
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Christ is passing by > In Joseph's workshop > Number 55
55

But if Joseph learned from Jesus to live in a divine way, I would be bold enough to say that, humanly speaking, there was much he taught God's Son. There is something I do not quite like in that title of foster father which is sometimes given to Joseph, because it might make us think of the relationship between Joseph and Jesus as something cold and external. Certainly our faith tells us that he was not his father according to the flesh, but this is not the only kind of fatherhood.

"Joseph," we read in a sermon of St Augustine, "not only claims the name of father, but he has a greater claim to it than any other." And then he adds: "How was he father? All the more effectively, the more chaste the paternity. Some thought that he was the father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the same way as other fathers who beget sons carnally and do not receive them only as the fruit of a spiritual love. This is why St Luke says: People thought he was the father of Jesus. Why does he say only they thought? Because this thought and human judgment refer to what is usual among men. And our Lord was not born of the seed of Joseph. Yet of the piety and charity of Joseph a son was born to him, of the Virgin Mary, and this was the Son of God."

Joseph loved Jesus as a father loves his son and showed his love by giving him the best he had. Joseph, caring for the child as he had been commanded, made Jesus a craftsman, transmitting his own professional skill to him. So the neighbours of Nazareth will call Jesus both faber and fabri filius: the craftsman and the son of the craftsman. Jesus worked in Joseph's workshop and by Joseph's side. What must Joseph have been, how grace must have worked through him, that he should be able to fulfil this task of the human upbringing of the Son of God!

For Jesus must have resembled Joseph: in his way of working, in the features of his character, in his way of speaking. Jesus' realism, his eye for detail, the way he sat at table and broke bread, his preference for using everyday situations to give doctrine — all this reflects his childhood and the influence of Joseph.

It's not possible to ignore this sublime mystery: Jesus who is man, who speaks with the accent of a particular district of Israel, who resembles a carpenter called Joseph, is the Son of God. And who can teach God anything? But he is also truly man and lives a normal life: first, as a child, then as a boy helping in Joseph's workshop, finally as a grown man in the prime of life. "Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men."

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