A Handy Man
Helen Keller said, "The greatest tragedy
in life is people who have sight but no vision."
That is why the question in life is, how
is your vision? Your sight may be perfect
but what about your vision?
Do you perceive the big picture? Can you
catch sight of the hidden potential lurking
behind every situation? Do you recognize
those obscure opportunities cleverly disguised
as glaring problems?
I know a man who had vision. He was not a
white collar gentleman, just a simple handy
man, a carpenter. He was married and had
a child. This child was not actually his,
but he adopted him and took good care of
him. His name was Joseph ben Jacob.
We do not even have one word of him recorded.
However, actions speak louder, much louder,
than words. One day, he finds himself in
a real tight spot. Already engaged to his
girlfriend, he discovers quite abruptly that
she is pregnant. He knew he did not do it.
Someone else must have made it! He must have
been destroyed and felt cheated.
He did not know what to do. He had three
alternatives. He could expose her and say
clearly that he had nothing to do with it.
This would have saved his face and his reputation
but the outcome for Mary would have been
very bleak. The Law was clear. Deuteronomy
chapter 22 states, "If a man happens
to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be
married and he sleeps with her, you shall
take both of them to the gate of that town
and stone them to death". Joseph does
not take this route.
The second option was to take her as his
wife, cover everything under the mantle of
marriage. Give his name to the baby which
is not his and make it look as if the baby
is his. The only problem was that this would
put him in a bad light. People would think
that he had got her pregnant, that he is
all goodie goodie on the outside, but basically
he is rotten and dirty. Nazareth was a small
town where gossip was rampant like all small
towns. He decides against this option - why
should he be held responsible for something
he never did?
The third option seemed more plausible. Dismiss
her quietly. Take her to some other town
and let her lose herself in the anonymity
of the crowd. No one would know anything
and everything will be hushed up quietly
and discreetly. Obviously this would solve
many problems for him, but it would not solve
many problems for Mary. He opts for this
But then God intervenes. And as is normal
with God, He disrupts Joseph's plans. He
tells him basically to go for the second
option : "Joseph, son of David, do not
be afraid, to take Mary your wife into your
home." Give your name to the child even
if he is not yours. Even if you will be branded
as an unreliable guy. Later on, the enemies
of Jesus would try to smear him by saying
just that : "Is he not the son of that
carpenter," the sneaky guy?
Joseph finds himself in front of something
that is not of his own choice or liking.
What did Joseph do? What can we do when we
find in front of situations that are beyond
our understanding - a sickness, a marital
breakdown, an emotional stress?
He simply obeyed! He did not resist the events
which God was presenting him. Pope Paul VI
said of him something very dear : "he
does not debate or dispute with God".
The moment this young man finds himself involved
in a mystery that is bigger than him, he
feels confused as all of are mixed up when
problems crash on us. But he did one step
forward. He realized that God knew what He
was doing. He realized that God cannot do
mistakes and he trusted.
Dr. J. A. Hadfield, a noted British psychologist,
once commented that, "When people run
up against life and find it too much for
them, one swears, one gets a headache, one
gets drunk and one prays."
Joseph decides to let God take over. He passes
the remote-control in the hands of God. Saint
Augustine once said, seek not to understand;
just believe and then you will understand!
The rest, as we know, is history! This simple
handyman has become an inspiration to many
who realize that faith is not a distant view
but a warm embrace of God!
Someone said, little faith will bring your
soul to heaven, but great faith will bring
heaven to your soul. How true! During an
especially trying time in the work in China,
a missionary sent this note to his relative,
"We have twenty-five cents - and all
the promises of God!
Your sight may be perfect, but how is your
vision? Saint Joseph, pray for us.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright