With his recent passing, a late Yankee great has been much on my mind. Somewhere around 1967, I recall my dad taking me to a game in the original Yankee Stadium. He bought me a pack of “autographed” photos of Yankee players. I was mesmerized by the signature of one Yankee whose handwriting was indecipherable. To what must have been the chagrin of the IHM sisters, I was successful at making Joe Pepitone’s handwriting style my own!
In the late 1960s, the “coolest” New York baseball player was Joe Pepitone, while the coolest football player was “Broadway” Joe Namath. Maybe even more than for their athletic abilities, they were idolized for their swagger. An Augustinian priest, my Uncle Joe (RIP) was a quiet, modest man – the opposite of the flamboyant Pepitone and Namath.
The first Joseph mentioned in the Bible was a son of Israel, sold into slavery by his brothers. While the stage play incorporates some poetic license, I love the music from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
My all time favorite homily concerns a different Biblical Joseph:
Of all of the people in scripture, Joseph is probably one of the most underrated….He is engaged to a woman whom he obviously loves and she becomes pregnant before marriage. He is told that this is the work of God and he is to take her to him anyway and he does so. Though married, he is to live a celibate life….For the sake of the child, he is forced to move repeatedly, from Bethlehem to Egypt to Judea to Galilee to Nazareth…. However, he had one thing working for him that we fathers today don't. Angels told him exactly what God wanted him to do and so all he needed was his faith in God to know that he was always doing the right thing as long as he followed instructions….
Those of us who are fathers today have one big responsibility that Joseph NEVER had to worry about. Our most important job is to get our families to heaven. And we have a lot to worry about….
Like Joseph, we need to have faith….We pray that our children and our grandchildren benefit from our Faith and that we are successful in bringing all of them to heaven.
(the late Deacon Manny Garcia (1, 2))