Last meeting we discussed how Joseph was virtually unnoticed during his lifetime. In fact, his life is somewhat veiled. We seem to know very little of him. However, our Lord said that what is hidden will be revealed and what is secret will be made known. Joseph’s hidden, secret fatherhood has been, and is being revealed, even to this very day. In other words, Joseph did not make himself noticed – but God made him known.
We all long to be known – it is an authentic desire of the human heart. But we must be careful: it is God’s job to make us known – not ours. When we attempt to make ourselves noticed we take the focus off of making God known and place this focus upon us. Last meeting, many of us had questions regarding this idea of being a hidden, secret father who does not attempt to make his works noticed. Indeed, how can we reconcile this idea with the idea that we are called to do great things, to perform works of excellence, works that should be seen so that others can give glory to God?
The account of the Wedding at Cana is a template for a father’s role, a man’s role, in the plan of salvation. There are seven important points that help us, as fathers, understand our role, and our works in God’s plan. The points are: 1) Mary is invited first. Mary is there first and we need to go first to Mary. 2) Jesus is invited. We need Jesus – we need His help. Without Him there is no hope. 3) Wine, a symbol of grace, runs out – Mary recognizes our need. 4) She turns to the servants (us) and says, “Do whatever He tells you.” 5) Jesus commands the servants to fill the jars – to work. 6) The servants obey, work hard, fulfill the task with excellence – filling the jars to the brim; but the result is only water. 7) Jesus transforms our work into wine – into grace. Jesus needs our works, but in the end, only He can transform these works-no matter how grand that they are-into wine.
St. Joseph obediently did what God commanded him – even little things – and God transformed these unnoticed works into grace. 1) In the story of the incarnation, Mary was there first. God then came upon her and called Joseph to go to Mary. He then became her protector, the guardian of virgins – he overcame his own lusts in order to love Mary rightly. 2) Joseph spiritually adopted Jesus as his own Son, protecting him, feeding him and teaching him. Joseph viewed Jesus not only in biological terms – but also in spiritual terms 3) Joseph became the savior of the Savior – for if he had not, the Savior would have been killed by Herod. 4) Joseph fed bread to the Bread of Life, enabling his Son to become spiritually and physically strong in order that He may give Himself to us; that we may eat of this Bread and have life. 5) Joseph and Jesus crafted the cross of self-giving love in the humble workshop of Nazareth. By doing this, Jesus was formed and prepared by Joseph, ultimately to sacrifice Himself for each of us. Joseph’s works are inestimable. They are incredible and have an impact on every Christian.
The human father is a link between heaven and earth – between his family and his God. His fatherhood is the link between his children and the Heavenly Father. The human father links his children to the heavenly Father by doing whatever God tells him to do – one step at a time. We are called to do each of these works with excellence, filling our jars to the brim. Like St. Joseph, we do not do these works to be noticed – but to glorify God, Who makes these works known for the praise of His glory.
It is the little works that make the big difference: stopping what you are doing and actually looking into your child’s eyes, listening to him when he is talking to you. Telling your child that you are proud of them – even if it is simply because they did something without being told. Taking our daughters and sons out, one-on one, making them feel important. Taking our wives out on a weekly date-night. Kissing our children and saying “I love you – you are so important to me”. Blessing our children each day -invoking God’s grace and favor upon them. God can take these little works and transform them into divine wine.