Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Joseph of Nazareth

Learning to Trust God
By Daniela Delvescovo

Movie Review of
Joseph of Nazareth
Director: Raffaele Mertes
Cast: Tobias Moretti, Stefania Rivi, Tobias Moretti

"Every child is a child of God."


Joseph of Nazareth is a must-see movie! This film tells the story of Jesus’ early life and birth through the eyes of Saint Joseph. It’s a thought-provoking story that considers what the life of Joseph might have been like, beyond what scripture tells us. It captures well the humanity of a man who had to grapple with the great mysteries surrounding the birth and life of Jesus.

This movie is not rated; there are a few scary scenes that might frighten young children.

The movie begins before Joseph has met Mary. Upon returning to Nazareth as a 35-year-old widower, the townspeople welcome him with open arms, calling him the “Prince of David”. While there, he catches sight of Mary, and it is apparent that the two have feelings for each other. 

The people are suffering under the reign of King Herod and are hoping to be delivered from the Roman occupiers by the Messiah whose arrival, it is rumored, is to take place very soon. Joseph is not interested in fighting against the Romans, well aware that such an uprising would be pointless, and the killing of his nephew Judas confirms this.

Joseph gets a visit from Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, asking him to marry their unprotected 14-year-old daughter. Joseph agrees, promising to preserve her chastity. So he is shocked when Mary tells him that she is pregnant. He finds it very difficult to believe in this supernatural conception, and we watch him struggle with the message that Jesus will end the reign of Herod, which he sees in a dream.

Despite his doubts and struggles, he chooses to trust God when they flee to Egypt and remain there until Herod’s death. Repeatedly, we see him deal with the inner conflict of acting as a father, wanting to protect his wife and child, while following divine direction.

The parents' relationship to their child is strained by Jesus's insistence on recognizing God as his father, instead of Joseph. It is only on his deathbed that Joseph professes his faith in his son, whose divine nature he now recognizes, and asks for forgiveness.

The message that runs through this message is powerful: Trust in the Lord.

Joseph constantly confides in the Lord throughout the movie and obeys His every command. Joseph remains faithful to the will of God. Much can be learned from his journey. We must all trust in the Lord, even when times are hard.

"To be optimistic in spite of everything,
trust in God should be the pivot of our thoughts and actions."
- Pope John Paul 

This very powerful quote from St. Therese the Little Flower  is one of my favorites. Sometimes life can be difficult, and I wonder, “Why, Jesus”? Then I think of this quote and remember, like Joseph, I must trust in God and know He has a plan for me.

For a movie trailer or to purchase this movie on DVD, go to http://www.ignatius.com/Products/JNA-M/joseph-of-nazareth.aspx

Questions for youth groups, families, and other small group discussions (please feel free to post comments below):
  1. Can you describe a time in your life when trusting in Jesus was difficult?
  2. Define what it means to  trust.
  3. What helps you to trust in the Lord?

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