The Greater Joseph

Matthew 1:16,18-21,24
2 Sm 7:4-5,12-14,16/Ps 89/Rom 4:13,16-18,22

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commended him, and took Mary his wife into his home.
(Matthew 1:24)

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 her was born Jesus Who is called the Christ. Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When His mother, Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commended him, and took Mary 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 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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