St. Joseph is honoured with feast days throughout the Liturgical Year. This feast encourages us to look at Joseph’s role as husband and head of the Holy Family.
Most of what we know about the life of St. Joseph comes to us from Scripture and legends that have sprung up regarding his life. Though Joseph is only mentioned by two of the evangelists, he is paid the compliment of being a “just” man. This is a way of saying that Joseph was such a good and holy man that he shares in God’s own holiness. In addition, Joseph gives us an example of how to be a just spouse and how to have holy relationships.
Joseph’s example as a husband can be best seen in how he respected Mary. He realized that God had a special plan for his wife and for his son, and Joseph did everything in his power to help this plan become reality. When Joseph was given chances to give up his vocation to the married life, by divorcing Mary or leaving her, he resisted the temptation and stayed by her side providing support and love.
The feast of St. Joseph Husband of Mary has been celebrated throughout the church since the tenth century and has been honored as the Patron of the Universal Church since 1870. St. Joseph is the patron of workers, carpenters, Austria, Belgium, Bohemia, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and southern Vietnam.
REFLECTION FOR THE DAY
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him… Matthew 1:24
Joseph is a silent hero of the gospels. In Matthew, we have our most extensive encounter with him, and we learn that he struggled with the news that his betrothed “was found with child” (verse 18). How many concerns must have gone through his mind? Worries about what the community would think? Perhaps anger? Certainly confusion. Yet when in his dream the truth is revealed to him, he obeyed and “took his wife into his home” (verse 24). This act of obedience suggests a humility in the man that we who are fathers are called to imitate. Like Joseph, we can worry about many things. But like Joseph, we are called to set aside our fears when things seem out of control and trust in the Lord. Instead of anger, respond with love. Instead of shame, respond with mercy. Jesus, help all who are fathers respond to their challenges with the faith and love of St. Joseph.