The Feast of St. Joseph

Matthew 1: 16,18-21,24
Rom: 4:13,16-18,22 / Ps 89

He did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was able to do.
(Romans 4:20)

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 was born Jesus, who is called Christ. This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. (Matthew 1:16,18-21,24)

Reflection

Joseph, the husband of Mary, and 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. When he learned that his betrothed was pregnant, he decided to divorce her secretly, so as not to expose her to shame. But an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him, “It is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her” (Mt.1:20). He told him that this happened 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 falls 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 laborers and fathers. Most of us, laborers and fathers, should look up to the righteousness of St. Joseph, who is the model of all men who wish to remain steadfast servants 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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