Patris Corde 3c: Luke’s Witness to Joseph and Obedience

Saint Luke weighs in, first with Saint Joseph’s observance of civil authority–the census:

The evangelist Luke, for his part, tells us that Joseph undertook the long and difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be registered in his family’s town of origin in the census of the Emperor Caesar Augustus. There Jesus was born (cf. Luke 2:7) and his birth, like that of every other child, was recorded in the registry of the Empire.

The Holy Family also observed Jewish Law carefully, as documented by the third evangelist:

Saint Luke is especially concerned to tell us that Jesus’ parents observed all the prescriptions of the Law: the rites of the circumcision of Jesus, the purification of Mary after childbirth, the offering of the firstborn to God (cf. 2:21-24). [Cf. Leviticus 12:1-8; Exodus 13:2.]

In every situation, Joseph declared his own “fiat”, like those of Mary at the Annunciation and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

According to the Bible, Joseph’s fiat was his wordless witness and adherence to guidance from God. No doubts. No complaints. No bargaining. Pope Francis suggest that Jesus was the witness to his parents’ example of obedience and clearly adopted this stance with regard to his heavenly Father–this is the witness of all four Gospels:

In his role as the head of a family, Joseph taught Jesus to be obedient to his parents (cf. Luke 2:51), in accordance with God’s command (cf. Exodus 20:12).

During the hidden years in Nazareth, Jesus learned at the school of Joseph to do the will of the Father. That will was to be his daily food (cf. John 4:34). Even at the most difficult moment of his life, in Gethsemane, Jesus chose to do the Father’s will rather than his own, [Cf. Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42]  becoming “obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).  The author of the Letter to the Hebrews thus concludes that Jesus “learned obedience through what he suffered” (5:8).

Let’s give Pope John Paul II the final word today:

All this makes it clear that “Saint Joseph was called by God to serve the person and mission of Jesus directly through the exercise of his fatherhood” and that in this way, “he cooperated in the fullness of time in the great mystery of salvation and is truly a minister of salvation.”[St John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos 8]

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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