I once worked in the same shop with an old Italian man who was at the end of his working life at a time when I was at the beginning of mine.He took me aside one day to tell me a story. It was something that had never happened to me before, so I was all ears.
“Imagine this scenario,” he said. “Jesus rises from the dead and forty days later He ascends into heaven.”
That part I already knew. But the enthusiastic storyteller was just getting started:
“Now, just for the sake of argument, imagine that you yourself are present at that scene high above us when the very gates of heaven are thrown open to receive the great King who has just conquered death and is now entering into His glory. All the angels are there—imagine!”
Now he had me. What a scenario! I had never imagined something like that before. He continued:
“So, as you’re watching this, you see Jesus take His seat upon a glorious throne in heaven. And after He is seated in power at the right hand of the Father, He begins to look around at all the souls who have accompanied Him from the land of Sheol.
“These were the ones who waited many long years and even centuries for a Savior to come and release them from bondage.
“But soon, you notice that Jesus is looking for someone in particular. He eventually fixes on one person and calls him out. Surprisingly, the one who emerges from the crowd is an old man…like me.
“The people seem to know the old man well so they make way for the venerable figure as he slowly walks forward, almost embarrassed to receive such recognition.
“As he approaches the throne of grace, Jesus smiles a smile that fills even heaven with its light.
“Then He does something amazing. The King takes off His crown and descends from His high place to embrace the man below. The man doesn’t know what to say, so he says the first thing that comes to mind:
“’Son…it’s been so long. How is your mother?’”
Ah, blessed St. Joseph! That amazing, silent saint. Beloved of Jesus and Mary. Worthy of all respect and veneration.