Today is the 19th of March, the day we celebrate the feast of St Joseph. I thought of giving St Joseph a tribute, by writing about this wonderful guardian of Jesus.
My reflections about St. Joseph are based on what the Bible says about him.
St. Joseph the husband of Mary (Matthew 1:16), was the father of Jesus on earth. We might think of Joseph as a lucky man, chosen to be the foster father of Christ. However, scripture reveals that Joseph goes through many challenges in his role.
We know he was a carpenter, not one of the powerful men in town, as some were shocked when they witnessed Jesus’ teachings in the temple and said, “Is this not the carpenter's son?” (Matthew 13:55). This shows that Joseph was an ordinary man who lived a simple life.
St. Joseph was an honest worker and therefore known to be the ‘Patron saint of Workers’. Due to this, the church celebrates a second feast day, May 1st for ‘St. Joseph the Worker’.
Scripture about St. Joseph and Reflections
The Gospel of Luke 1:27
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.
The Gospel of Mathew 1:19 specifically refers to Joseph as a ‘righteous man’.
Matthew 1: 19 tells us that St Joseph was a caring man of justice. When he found out that Mary was pregnant, he wanted to divorce her secretly, so she does not suffer the consequence of being stoned to death, which was the punishment at that time. Although, things did not happen in fairness to Joseph, he cared about Mary and did not want to expose her to shame or cruelty.
At the same time the Gospel of Matthew 1:20-25 tells us that Joseph was a strong man of faith. He just trusted God and carried out the request made by God . When the Angel appeared to him in a dream and told him the story about Mary and the Child she was carrying, Joseph without any complain took Mary as his wife. This shows Joseph’s unquestioned faith and trust in God.
Joseph was a man who kept the law. He had to travel a long hard journey to Bethlehem with his pregnant wife in order to register his name, a request made by the authority (Gospel of Luke 2:4). He did not think, ‘Oh, the Son of God is to be born into our family; why should we have to travel that distance?” He did not put God to the test, but just did what he was required to do at that time.
St. Joseph, the protector of the Holy Family, was thrown another challenge. The Gospel of Luke 2:7 states that his family had no room in the inn at Bethlehem. Therefore, Joseph and Mary had to keep their new born baby in a manger. This could mean that they had no money for a room, nor friends of influence. This again shows Joseph’s total trust in the Lord before he set on this journey.
Yet in Bethlehem, Joseph receives visitors – a surprise from God! God’s angel sends them the Shepherds with the good news.
The Gospel of Luke 2:16 states; ‘So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.’
Joseph’s challenges in life did not end. The Gospel of Matthew 2:13-14 tells us that he had to take his family and flee to Egypt like refugees, in order to protect his child .
Again in Matthew 2:19-20 the angel asks him to return back to Israel. These scripture readings show St. Joseph’s total trust in God’s will for him and his family. In addition, St. Joseph was ever willing to protect his family. No wonder, Catholics name St Joseph as the Protector of families.
Joseph cared for Jesus as his own son. This is proven in the Bible, where the people of Nazareth say, "Is this not the son of Joseph?" (Luke 4:22). Again Joseph is referred to as the father of Jesus; Luke 2:33 states, ‘The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him’.
According to Luke 2:22 and Luke 2:41, He was a man who obeyed the law of the church. Joseph took Mary and Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem according to the law of Moses and every year for the feast of the passover.
This is something we could learn from St Joseph and not rebel against our own church laws. Some of us Christians, try to make our own religious laws – saying “we don’t have to go for Reconciliation or Mass every Sunday”.
I see St. Joseph as a faithful man who went about doing his day-to-day work without complaining. St Joseph was a man who just put total trust in God, and did what he was required to do in order to care for his family.
St. Theresa of Avila encourages us to pray to St Joseph in times of great need as His prayers would never fail. She says that 'if on earth, St Joseph had authority over Jesus in his role as a father, he would have this same authority in heaven and Jesus would never fail him'.
Return fromSt Joseph to other stories of the Life of Saints.
Click for Prayers to St Joseph for Protection of Your Family, for Workers, for a Happy Death and Prayers in great need.
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