Christ the discarnate 𝘓𝘰𝘨𝘰𝘴, by becoming a fully material human being unveiled the redemptive potential of matter. Christ through His earthly sojourn hallowed the land by walking on it, sanctified the waters by His baptism, and purified the air by His crucifixion. It is plausible that the Saviour of Creation might have chosen Joseph the carpenter because of his niche to creatively use matter. As St. John Chrysostom notes; “Mary was betrothed to a carpenter, because Christ the Spouse of the Church was to work the salvation of all human beings through the wood of the Cross.”
Sacraments are basically about putting the matter to creative use. In the Liturgy, human beings display their creativity as well as their iconic image as co-creators. We would be accused by the wider creation if we – the stewards of creation – use matter destructively. For instance, a hymn from the Sixth Hour of Holy Friday bears witness to this; “The tree cried, “Woe to me! What has happened? On me, they crucified the Lord of all; He nurtured me with dew and rains, in return I gave only death. Woe to you, wicked ones, who hanged Him upon me.”
Although Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, the Scripture doesn’t balk at calling him Jesus’ father (Lk. 2:33). This is because the relationship with Jesus is not determined on the ground of biology but volition (Matt. 12:50). Being neither a husband nor a father in the proper sense, Joseph nevertheless faithfully fulfills the demands of both thereby posing a great challenge to the skewed notions of marriage and parenthood of our age.
To conclude with the words of the Medieval Professor blogpost; “Not only was Joseph a holy man who communed closely with God, receiving many messages from angels during the night; he was also an active man—a carpenter—whose holiness permeated all his physical labors: From defending the Virgin’s reputation when she was unexpectedly with child; to piloting his pregnant wife ninety miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem; from preparing a make-shift birthing-inn out of a livestock barn; from hosting the three Magi from the Orient in a humble home; to fleeing under cover of darkness from King Herod into Egypt.”
Dayroyo Fr. Basil
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