When we think of some people immediately our mind would say that, ‘he is a good human.’ They are the one who lead a blameless and holy life. They are led by the light of goodness in them and they lead others too in this light. I like to compare the carpenter of Nazareth to these good people. Even though he was named Joseph (Mathew 1:18, Luke 1:26) the society always addressed him as the carpenter. (Mathew 13:55) let us recall to our minds some of the qualities of Joseph which made him favorite in God’s eyes.
The carpenters by nature of their work are very creative. They make things for the people from wood. They are very creative in the way they think and act. Through their talent they carve beautiful things from wood. Their hands bear the brunt of their hard work. He is responsible to create and not destroy. The carpenter in Nazareth was like these carpenters. If he wanted he could have destroyed the life of his betrothed, Mary. But he knew that Mary was not at fault and didn’t want her to suffer in the society. He did not abandon Mary or baby Jesus in the manger or when they fled to Egypt. Instead he worked hard to live up to the plan of God.
A carpenter by the nature of his work is always accurate. He had to get the measurement and math correct for him to create. Only when the measurement is correct will the work turn out perfect. He will not compromise on the quality of the work and he will be a perfectionist when it comes to his work. A carpenter always carried all the equipment with him. The carpenter of Nazareth was like this carpenter. His calculations were never wrong and he had the approval of God on every task of his. He saved the baby Jesus with great caution from the sword of the enemies. He stood his ground on his faith and never faltered (Luke 2:21 – 24:41). He executed the plan of God without any deviation (Mathew 1:24-25). His lifestyle was done as per the plan of God.
A carpenter by nature of his work is a renovator. He used the wood which had its faults and created things which had absolutely no faults. He ensures to carve without causing any damage to the wood. He knows how to identify faults and damages and knew how to make his craft beautiful by cleaning up. He desires to create new things as per the plan. He treats the wood with damage with at most care to ensure they are not damaged further. The carpenter of Nazareth was like this carpenter. He was running around trying to find a place for the birth of the son of God. The anxiety of losing Jesus during the festival of Presentation was very painful. He was able to manage all the problems his family faced and was able to turn them to joy. Joseph was a just man and his presence renewed his family and the society.
A carpenter by nature is very patient. The art of carving wood needs lot of attention and patience. If he tries to work fast it will spoil his work. Even when he is physically and spiritually troubled he should be able to work with great care and patience. He may at times have to work without a break to finish his work and at times like these he needs to be really patient. The carpenter of Nazareth was like this carpenter. The lord had blessed him with a lot of patience. He was able to handle all the problems of life calmly. When his plans were turned by the plans God for him, he did not even realize when God’s plans became his. He executed it with patience. He was able to face all the trials and tribulations of life bravely.
A carpenter by nature is an eliminator. He knows how to identify the right wood and discard the ones which are not fit for his work. Because he knows the rotten wood is not good to make anything. He keeps only the good part of the wood and always chooses the best to carve out crafts. He uses the right wood and the right tools for his best work. The carpenter of Nazareth was like this carpenter. He only thought and did the good. He kept everything that was bad and dangerous at bay. Even though he initially decided to leave Mary in secret, when he knew in his conscience that it was not the will of God, he did not leave her. He protected his family from all dangers. Thus he became an offering fully acceptable to God.
The life of St Joseph was as pure as a running stream. When we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph the patron saint of all workers on May 1, let us look into our conscience and ask ourselves do we want to become like this carpenter? If the answer is yes, then let us walk in the shadows of this great saint. Then the Lord’s eyes will be on us and we will be included in the list of good human beings.
Fr. Thomas Pattathilchira CMF