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Joseph’s “Hiddenness” in the Hidden Life of Jesus (Part III)

Calbayog City: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (cf. Lk 2:41-52) is the last appearance of Joseph in the gospels. What follows is the “hidden life” of Jesus in Nazareth. This pertains to the early years of Jesus’ life prior to his public ministry upon which the canonical gospels are relatively silent. St. Joseph is the saint of the hidden years of Jesus.[1] Those years were Joseph’s time in caring for his foster son and teaching him carpentry.[2] In his address to the Christian Associations of Italian Workers, Venerable Pius XII invoked St. Joseph as “Patron of Workers”[3] because St. Joseph was a carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for the needs of his family.



Accordingly, Joseph did not only teach Jesus carpentry. But he also inculcated to Jesus values which helped him fashion into what the theologian John Haughey, SJ, called “the instrument most needed for the salvation of the world.” According to James Martin, SJ, Joseph taught Jesus the value of patience for waiting until the wood is dry and ready… good judgment for ensuring that his plumb line is straight… persistence for sanding until the tabletop is smooth… honesty for charging people a fair price.[4] Pope Francis sums up that from Joseph, “Jesus learned the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labor.”[5]


In our experience of the pandemic today where thousands of people lost their jobs, where unemployment has become once again a burning social issue, St. Joseph exhorts us to discover anew the value, the importance and necessity of work so that no one among us may suffer from economic exclusion. Let us ask the intercession of St. Joseph, the Patron Saint of Workers, to aid us in finding ways so that no one is deprived of a decent work.

[1] See Donald H. Calloway, MIC, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father (Stockbridge: Marian Press, 2020) 62. [2] See James Martin, SJ, “St. Joseph is the Patron Saint We Need in this Pandemic,” (13 December 2020) https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/12/13/st-joseph-covid-pandemic-pope-francis-james-martin-239479 (accessed: 21 April 2021); “Why St. Joseph is the saint we need in 2021,” (19 December 2020), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DM4QyCmPfQ. [3] See Pius XII, “Address to the Christian Associations of Italian Workers on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph the Worker” (1 May 1955): AAS 47 (1955), 406, http://www.vatican.va/archive/aas/documents/AAS-47-1955-ocr.pdf (accessed: 23 April 2021). [4] See Martin, “St. Joseph is the Patron Saint We Need in this Pandemic.” [5] Pope Francis, Patris Corde.

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