Joseph of Nazareth Feastday March 19Everything we knowabout the husband ofMary and the fosterfather of Jesus comesfrom the SacredScriptures.
We know he was a carpenter, aworking man, for the skepticalNazarenes ask about Jesus, "Isthis not the carpenters son?"(Mt 13:55). He wasnt rich forwhen he took Jesus to theTemple to be circumcised andMary to be purified he offeredthe sacrifice of two turtledovesor a pair of pigeons, allowedonly for those who could notafford a lamb (Luke 2:24).
Despite his humble workand means, Joseph camefrom a royal lineage. Lukeand Matthew mark hisdescent from David, thegreatest king of Israel (Mt1:1-16 and Lk 3:23-38).Indeed the angel who firsttells Joseph about Jesusgreets him as "son ofDavid," a royal title usedalso for Jesus.
We know Joseph was acompassionate, caring man.When he discovered Mary waspregnant after they had beenbetrothed, he knew the child wasnot his but was as yet unaware thatshe was carrying the Son of God.He planned to divorce Maryaccording to the law but he wasconcerned for her suffering andsafety. He knew that womenaccused to adultery could bestoned to death, so he decided todivorce her quietly and not exposeher to shame or cruelty (Mt 1:19-25).
We know Joseph was man offaith, obedient to whatever God asked ofhim without knowing the outcome. Whenthe angel came to Joseph in a dream andtold him the truth about the child Mary wascarrying, Joseph immediately and withoutquestion or concern for gossip, took Maryas his wife. When the angel came again totell him that his family was in danger, heimmediately left everything he owned, allhis family and friends, and fled to a strangecountry with his young wife and the baby.He waited in Egypt without question untilthe angel told him it was safe to go back (Mt2:13-23).
We know Joseph lovedJesus. His one concern was for thesafety of this child entrusted to him.Not only did he leave his home toprotect Jesus, but upon his returnsettled in the obscure town ofNazareth out of fear for his life.When Jesus stayed in the Temple weare told Joseph (along with Mary)searched with great anxiety for threedays for him (Luke 2:48). We alsoknow that Joseph treated Jesus as hisown son for over and over the peopleof Nazareth say of Jesus, "Is this notthe son of Joseph?" (Lk 4:22)
We know Joseph respectedGod. He followed Godscommands in handling thesituation with Mary andgoing to Jerusalem to haveJesus circumcised andMary purified after Jesusbirth. We are told that hetook his family toJerusalem every year forPassover, something thatcould not have been easyfor a working man.
Since Joseph does notappear in Jesus public life,at his death, or resurrection,many historians believeJoseph probably had diedbefore Jesus entered publicministry.
Joseph is the patron of thedying because, assuminghe died before Jesuspublic life, he died withJesus and Mary close tohim, the way we all wouldlike to leave this earth.
Joseph is also patron of theuniversal Church, fathers,carpenters, and social justice.We celebrate two feast days forJoseph: March 19 for Josephthe Husband of Mary and May1 for Joseph the Worker.
There is much we wish wecould know about Joseph-- where and when he wasborn, how he spent hisdays, when and how hedied.But Scripture has left uswith the most importantknowledge: who he was --"a righteous man" (Mt 1:18).
HAPPY FEASTDAY TO ALL !!! Feast of St. Joseph March 19
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