This years Oscars best actor award went to Eddie Redmayne for the movie “The Theory of Everything.” Here, he delivered a riveting performance as Stephen Hawking, one of the most celebrated physicist of our time.
His brilliance is fostered by co-actors whom he shared the scenes with. This is most true in Felicity Jones portrayal of Jane Wilde, Hawkings wife. She beautifully played her role wellmost of the time in the backgroundenabling Redmayne to shine so well in his characterization of a wheelchair-bound Hawking.
The saint we honor today played exactly just that. In fact, he only appears in three out of four gospels. The scriptwriter who penned his life did not even give him a speaking line.
But St. Joseph, like a line from a song, said it best when he said nothing at all.
It is true that the Blessed Mother carried Jesus in her womb, but following the logic of the Jewish culturewhere fathers get to pick names for their childrenJoseph must have been the one who gave Jesus His name.
Since Joseph was a carpenter, many theorized that Jesus was himself a carpenter, too. For in the Jewish context, fathers gave their sons professional educationgiving credence to an often quoted rabbinic adage He who does not teach his son a useful trade is bringing him up to be a thief. The trades were usually passed on to their sons, and the skills were handed down in the family workshop.
But what is most true in Jewish tradition is that the fathers were to teach the truths of their religion to their sons. The fathers taught the Law to their young sons as early as three years of age which finds its basis from the Mosaic Law. This is considered one of their most sacred obligations to their children.
In the Gospel proclaimed today (Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a), one quality outstanding with him is his righteousness. Upon knowing that Mary is pregnant, he willed to divorce her silently to prevent her from being shamed. This he thought of doing even before an angel comes to explain what has happened to Mary.
Just like any decent man, he must have dreamt big dreams, too, for his future family. But upon being apprised by the angel that the Lord has other plans, different from his, Joseph heeded, silently played his part in the background.
And his reward? A rare privilege to have lived with two individuals who have not been touched by the dirt of sin And how these two have influenced him to become more attuned to Gods bidding!
The Church raises him to the dignity of such that the whole universal church is entrusted to his protection.
Shakespeare wrote that All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
St. Joseph was able to play his part remarkably well because he listened and obeyed the director.
Let us do likewise.