January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014: Equipped for the Call


Week 2: What was Jesus' childhood like?
FATHERED: What was Joseph's role in Jesus' childhood?

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“In this family, Joseph is the father: his fatherhood is not one that derives from begetting offspring; but neither is it an ‘apparent’ or merely ‘substitute’ fatherhood. Rather, it is one that fully shares in authentic human fatherhood and the mission of a father in the family.”
John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos, no. 21

“By calling God ‘Father’, the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 239


The “father’s blessing” was a rich tradition among Jewish fathers. Rooted in the tradition of Genesis 49:25-28, Joseph would have prayed over Jesus countless times. Read Psalm 103. Consider Joseph teaching Jesus Psalm 103 as he blessed Jesus with those words. Read it a few times. Pay attention to what word or phrases “tugs” at your heart. Pay attention to all of your thoughts, feelings, and desires as you slowly read the text.

Now, prayerfully imagine the “hidden scenes” of Nazareth: Joseph teaching Jesus how to pray; Joseph teaching Jesus the basic trade of carpentry; Joseph gazing at the stars with Jesus, teaching him how to read the sky; Joseph laughing with Jesus; Joseph spending time with Jesus. Pick a scene and let it unfold in your imagination. You are there, with them. They turn to you. They ask you, “What’s on your heart today?” What do you want to tell them? Listen to what they say in reply.

TODAY'S PRAYER:  “Jesus, I desire to know you in a deeply personal way. Help me to grow in my relationship with you and with the Father.”

© Fr. Mark Toups, 2014