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Dear Father Angelo,

My name is Noemi, I’m 10 years old, I belong to the parish of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and I have a question: was Joseph, who would be the adoptive father of Jesus, truly recognized as Jesus’ father, both by Jesus himself and by others?

And if he was not, could you tell me why?

In fact, today I thought again about the passage in which Jesus was in the temple and said: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” where he meant God.

THANK YOU and happy EASTER from Noemi.

Answer from the priest

Dear Noemi,

you are our youngest visitor up to now, at least among those who write to me, and I welcome you.

1. Joseph was recognized by everyone as the father of Jesus.

We read in the Gospel of St. Luke: “And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, ‘Isn’t this the son of Joseph?’ ” (Lk 4:22).

Jesus also called Joseph by the name of father. Our Lady herself says to Jesus at the time of his finding in the temple: “Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety” (Lk 2:48).

2. Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father, but he was his father by all other meanings, which indeed are not a few: first of all, from a legal point of view, because Jesus was born into a family of which Joseph was the first in charge.

But also, Joseph was the father of Jesus because he supported him, because he protected him, because he educated him. And Jesus was completely submissive to him.

Above all, he was his father because of the paternal affection he gave him and because of the affection and protection he gave to Mary, his most sweet wife and Mother of Jesus.

3. The episode of the finding in the temple reminds us how much St. Joseph loved Jesus with true fatherly love.

Our Lady witnessed his sufferings. Those three days of dismay must have caused him highly excruciating pain, so much so that Our Lady, when turning to Jesus, first of all shows him the pain of his father Joseph and says to him: “Your father and I … with great anxiety.”

4. When, also in that episode, Jesus says: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (he does not reply with the singular, but he uses the plural “did you not know?” [this is clearer when one compares with the original text – Translator’s note]) he states that that loss and that finding had occurred due to a mysterious plan of the Father that they were not able to understand at that time.

It was, in fact, the sign of another loss and another much greater pain, the one that will deprive Our Lady, the apostles, and the disciples of the presence of Jesus from the time of his death to the time of the resurrection.

5. At the same time, Jesus manifests in that episode that he is fully aware not only of his mission, but also of being God, of his unique relationship with the Heavenly Father – whom he calls in an entirely new way: “My Father” – and of being the same as the Father.

I thank you, I remember you in prayer, and I bless you.

At the same time, I wish you a peaceful and holy Easter.

Father Angelo