The Feast of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary

Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24 or Luke 2:41-51
2 Sm 7:4-5.12-14.16 / Ps 89 / Rom 4:13.16-18.22

Joseph, the husband of Mary, and foster father of Jesus . . .
(Matthew 1:16)

St. Joseph, humble spouse of Mary,
Blessed model in our hurts and pain,
Inspire us never to grow weary
Serving God for our eternal gain.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with Child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary for your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took Mary as his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Reflectio

Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, traced his lineage all the way to Abraham. Although he was just a poor unlettered carpenter, he was a man of quiet dignity and strength of character. The Gospel also described him as a “just man”. Having learned that his bethrothed was pregnant, he never felt aggrieved, or succumbed tojealousy or self-pity. Instead he was more concerned about Mary’s shame and safety. Then an angel, appearing to him in a dream, assured him that Mary’s pregnancy was in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “Behold the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’ ” (Isaiah7:14).

One of the greatest patriarchs in the Old Testament, and the closest precursor of the Messiah was Joseph, one of the two sons of Jacob by Rachel. He was known as ‘Joseph, the Dreamer,’ the earliest mystic who became the savior of Israel when he was sold as a slave to Egypt. Because of his dreams, he saved nations from the 7 years of famine that followed the 7 years of bountiful harvests. The Pharaoh of Egypt put him in charge of his whole kingdom, becoming the most powerful man in Egypt next only to the Pharaoh at the young age of thirty.

Joseph, the husband of Mary, like his Old Testament counterpart, was also begot by a man named Jacob. He was also enlightened through a dream. But unlike Joseph of Egypt, he never saved any nation in his lifetime. In fact, he never spoke or wrote a single word in the Bible. He was perhaps the meekest and humblest of all the saints. But God saw fit that this lowly carpenter would be the protector and guardian of the Redeemer of the world. Next to the Blessed Mother, he is the greatest of all saints.

St. Joseph’s feast day comes after my birthday. He is my patron saint and model. I believe I have become a good husband and father largely because of the influence of St. Joseph, although my wife insists it was her devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary that kept me firm in my fidelity to our marriage vows. Fittingly, St. Joseph is known as the patron saint of fathers. Most of us fathers should look up to the righteousness of St. Joseph, who is the model of all men who wish to remain sons of God.

St. Joseph, beloved foster father of our Savior, pray for us, that we may always be strong in our commitment to serve your beloved Son. Amen.

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