Monday, November 23, 2015

Joseph's Last Days: An Excerpt From Antonio's Book On The Hidden Life Of Jesus

AP: Thomas is in the process of finishing up the English translation (The Hidden Life of Jesus) of my book La vida oculta de Jesús segun los evangelios canónicos y apócrifos. It's being published by Wipf and Stock and will be available in the upcoming year. Here's just a preview, dealing with Joseph's last days:

As Joseph drew nearer to the end of his days, some things in his past began to haunt him, the effect of a more sensitive conscience, and he began to dread the moment when he would stand before the divine court. He began to shout: “Woe to my tongue and my lips, for they have uttered insults, deceit, slander, and calumny! Woe to my eyes, for they have seen disgrace! Woe to my ears, for they have willingly listened frivolous speech!”

His outburst could have extended to other parts of his body—his hands, his feet, his stomach—and all of their imperfections from the distant past, but he did not. Instead, his soul calmed and he said: “You, Jesus, God, you are my lawyer. And may your divine will be accomplished in me.” Jesus appeared at his father’s bedside, reminding him that every human being must at some point go to the Father and that, in his case, he had nothing to fear. Once out of his father’s sight, Jesus was moved to tears, watching how his father was close to death. It reminded him too that he would suffer a cruel death on the cross at the hands of the Jews, although it would result in life for the world.

Mary, meanwhile, could not understand why Joseph needed to suffer the fate of all mankind. “Is the good and blessed old man, Joseph, going to die?” she asked. Jesus answered: “Nobody who lives, not even yourself, will escape this fate. But take heart, because it is really, so much as it is the passage to eternal life. I too must suffer this fate because of the mortal flesh that I have taken on.”

Throughout this whole time Jesus stood at the head of Joseph’s bed and Mary at his feet. Joseph fixed his eyes on the face of Jesus, sometimes unable to utter a word, other times only able to groan. Jesus massaged his hands and feet and put his hand once in the old man’s chest to quiet his soul. And Joseph rested.

Some the sons and daughters from a previous marriage came to visit Joseph during the end. One, named Lisia, dared to speak out and told her brothers: “I swear, dear brothers, that this is the exact same disease that afflicted our mother, and now here it is again. Our father has it, and we are not going to see him again until we see him in eternity.” Then everyone burst into tears again, and they went to be with Jesus and Mary.

It was not long before Death showed up with a group of demons, looking at Joseph like an angry, rabid animal. Only Joseph could see them, and he just knew that they had come to hoping take his soul. Jesus prayed to his heavenly Father at that moment and asked thus: “Father, send me a host of angels, including Michael, the administrator of your goods, and Gabriel, the great messenger of light, to accompany the soul of my father Joseph. And I pray that they will not have to travel those hellish, terrible roads because they are infested with evil spirits.” Immediately a whole host of good angels appeared. Joseph’s face was relieved when he saw that good angels outnumbered the evil ones. The latter were waiting for the moment of his death with great anticipation. Jesus said to Joseph: “Father, you will not to travel the hellish pathways, nor will have go through the dreadful place where the river of fire churns like the waves of the sea. No, the angels of my Father are going to keep you safe in his mighty hand.”

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