Today, March 19th is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
Since St. Joseph was the earthly spouse of Mary, the earthly father of Jesus and the head of the Holy Family, he is of great importance.
He’s also important to my family.
Joseph is the first or middle name of many of my relatives.
My maternal grandmother always wore red on St. Joseph’s Day, a tradition of Italian, Sicilian and Polish Catholics.
She also bought Zeppole di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s Pastry) which are eaten on the feast.
This post is dedicated to this great saint: Joseph.
There is very little information about St. Joseph in Scripture.
Below are events from Scripture that reveal three lessons about the saint.
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 divorce her 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 but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus (Matthew 1:18-21, 24-25).
When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, we can imagine how he may have felt.
He may have felt angry, confused, betrayed, or upset.
Regardless of his emotions, he wanted to do what was considered to be honorable.
However, Joseph immediately changed his decision after the angel’s visit!
He listened to the angel’s words and did as he was told.
He also accepted God’s greatest call: Joseph became the child’s earthly father.
Even though the situation wasn’t easy to understand, he didn’t question God’s message.
St. Joseph teaches us to obey the Lord and surrender to His will, without hesitation.
The first lesson leads to the second.
One of the reasons Joseph was able to obey God was because of his trust.
He was aware of the faithfulness the Lord showed to His people throughout history.
Because the Lord has always been faithful, Joseph knew that He could always be trusted.
Even though Joseph didn’t know everything that would happen, he had complete confidence in God and didn’t doubt His message.
St. Joseph teaches us to trust in the Lord and His promises, without exception.
Man as Protector
Now when they [the Wise Men] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod (Matthew 2:13-15a).
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archela′us reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee (Matthew 2:19-22).
We also see the first two lessons demonstrated in this event: Joseph’s obedience and trust of the Lord’s message.
A third lesson is also illustrated.
Joseph took his role as a man, husband and father seriously.
He always took care of his wife and child; and even though Jesus wasn’t his biological son, Joseph loved Him as his own.
Joseph supported Mary while she was pregnant in Nazareth and on the journey to Bethlehem.
He protected Mary and the child in Bethlehem and on the journey to Egypt.
He kept his family safe while living in a foreign land and on the journey back to Israel.
And he continued to watch over them for the remainder of his life.
Joseph knew what was expected of him and faithfully fulfilled his vocation.
St. Joseph teaches us that men are called to protect women and children, especially men who are husbands and fathers.
Even though little is known about St. Joseph, we can learn a great deal from his example.
We can also be sure of his powerful intercession because of the special role and graces he was given.
March 19th is his solemnity. He also has a feast on May 1st: Saint Joseph, the Worker.
He’s the patron of: carpenters, families, fathers, a happy death, and the Universal Church.
He’s also the patron or co-patron of many countries, including: Canada, China, Peru, Russia, and Vietnam.
Saint Joseph, pray for us!