Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary – Lessons From Dad

photo (10)We know very little about him. He was married to a woman named Mary. He was a carpenter by trade. He raised the boy Jesus as if he were his own son.

Those are the facts that we know about Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who’s Solemnity the Church celebrates today.

What makes Saint Joseph such a special individual in the Gospel story is his extraordinary compassion. When confronted with Mary’s pregnancy, he knew the law and his rights under the law. But he cared more about her and her fear and her embarrassment. An angel appeared to him in a dream, telling him that the child was from the Holy Spirit. Once awake, he didn’t simply shake off that mysterious dream, which would have been understandable. Instead, he acted out of faith and created a home with Mary for the child. When Herod set into motion his bloody plan to eliminate the child, Joseph risked his own life to take the child and his mother to safety in Egypt.  

It is not hard to imagine that the boy Jesus learned a great deal from his “dad” Joseph about compassion, about the strength of family love, and about courage.

Later, when the adult Jesus taught about placing the more difficult values of the heart above the technicalities of the law, when he revealed the love of God as Father of us all and our belonging to one another as brothers and sisters, when he spoke of the blessedness of the poor and humble, when he preached about love so great as to give one’s life for another, the memory of his “dad” must have been close to his heart.

Great faith was required of Joseph in the face of the incomprehensible events concerning his espoused wife, and in subsequent years, the actions of her Son. Though not understanding, Joseph humbly and patiently complied with what God asked. In this he is a model for all of us.

God our Father, today as we honor Joseph, your son’s “dad,” may we be inspired by his compassion, by his great love and devotion to family, by the quiet dignity of his goodness and integrity. In embracing his faith in your Word and his care for your Word-made-flesh, may we become Josephs for one another, brothers and sisters of your compassion and love.

Question – Surely Joseph was surprised by his role in the plan of salvation. Are we, too, surprised at our role? What bold opportunities does God offer you to serve? How are you responding?

March 19th, 2014 |