March 19 – Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24A
Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife.
Saint Joseph was probably one of the most influential men in Jesus’ life, yet we never hear his voice. We know that Joseph was in the line of David, born in Bethlehem, lived in Galilee and was a holy man. He wasn’t a rich man, and worked hard as a carpenter. He loved Mary and could have had her stoned for having what he thought was an adulterous affair but instead decided to divorce her quietly. He was a man of strong faith, and trusted and followed the Lord after the visit from an angel of the Lord regarding Mary’s pregnancy and took her into his home. He again followed the command of the angel of the Lord when he told him to get up and bring Mary and Jesus to Egypt because Herod was searching for the child. He also protected after returning home and settling in Nazareth away from Judea (Matthew 2:13-23). We don’t know what he was like as father or when Joseph died, but we assume it was before Jesus’ death because he was never mentioned during Jesus’ ministry, and Jesus gave Mary John to take care of her.
Saint Joseph is an example of a strong, upright and faithful man. Just like any father, he protected his wife and child. He provided for his family, working as a carpenter, and taught his Son his trade.
From what little we know of Joseph, there is a lot to learn from him. When he found out about Mary’s being pregnant, he thought and prayed about what he would do without over-reacting immediately. He showed mercy on Mary instead of taking revenge or shaming her. When someone hurts us, pray first and ask God for guidance.
Lent in Action:
Reflect quietly about the path God is calling you to follow.
Son of Man, Thank you for giving us the example of your adoptive father here on earth as a hard worker, man of faith, who listened to God and obeyed, and a wonderful father. Help me to be a better parent, either with my own children or others who look up to me. Saint Joseph, pray for me. Amen.