And now, José?

A poppy field

Carlos Drummond de Andrade, a famous Brazilian poet, stamped this expression in his poem “José” (1942). As master, he shows the emptiness and the “none direction” latent in the souls of the Brazilians, immerged in the anguish and the uncertainty of the dark years of the II Great World War. As being “José” (and also son of José), since I know myself as a person, this has been a question that has accompanied me.

There is also another “Joseph”, but this one inspires me. Opposite of the first one, poetic and emblematic, this one is historical; he lived with the Lord of the history.

I speak about the Joseph from Arimathea, mentioned on the fourth Gospel (Mat. 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; Jo. 19) as a “respected member of the Council, a good and faithful disciple of Jesus”, but fearing the authorities he did that in secret.

Nevertheless the crucification brought up a “new” Joseph, brave that assumed publicly and without shame his relationship with the Master. But the most beautiful is that, encouraged by the determination of Joseph, another respected leader of the Council, called Nicodemus, a follower of Jesus also from a distance (Jo. 3), joined him at this act, assuming also publicly his discipleship.

This was one of the most concrete acts of faith that they could give. They were on the opposite hand of their generation, cause even the nearest disciples hid themselves in the crowd. But Joseph and Nicodemus offered to Jesus a funeral worthy of a King.

I don’t refer to the perfumes, to the sheets of linen and the sepulture caved in the rock. I’m saying that this Joseph, assuming publicly and unquestionably and irreversibly his compromise with Jesus, he gave a clear sign to all the future generations that in spite of the price to be paid, nothing is more important in life than identify yourself with commitment to Jesus of Nazareth the King of Kings and with His Kingdom.

I need your prayers so I myself can have strength and courage to follow the example of this Joseph. I don’t want to stay in the penumbra; neither follows Jesus from a distance. I want to be fully the Joseph that He wants me to be. I want to be a faithful administrator of everything He has put in my hands walking by faith – even though on the opposite hand of the multitude – and by His grace, and maybe also be used by Him to encourage some “Nicodemus” to get involved in the discipleship of the Master.

It has been a big privilege to serve the Lord full time here in Brazil. And in case you as Drummond, the poet, are still asking: And now Joseph… to where?

With all the joy I tell you: Following Jesus! Where else could I go?

José RM Prado

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