St. Joseph the Foster Father of Jesus
Saint Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus. It might sound amazing to be part of the Holy Family, but there were many trials that came along with it.
First, the Bible tells us the story of Jesus’ birth. When Mary was engaged to Joseph, he heard about Mary being pregnant. Knowing he wasn’t the father, but not wanting to embarrass Mary, he decided to quietly divorce her.
However, one night an angel set things straight. The angel appeared to him in a dream saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because it was the Holy Spirit who created the child in her. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21)
Later, after Jesus’ birth three wise men visited and paid homage to the newborn king. However, King Herod heard of Jesus and wanted to know where Jesus was. It wasn’t out of love and reverence. Rather, it was out of fear and wanting to do Him harm.
After the wise men left, an angel appeared to Joseph saying, “Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him.” So he got up and took the child and His mother during the night and escaped to Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-14)
We imagine the strength and leadership it must have taken to keep Mary and Jesus safe through all these events and journeys they went through.
On this Solemnity of St. Joseph, let us ask for his prayers and protection of all of us and our families, but especially the family of the Universal Church.
After Herod died an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Get up! Take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, because those who sought the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and His mother, and entered the land of Israel. (Matthew 2:19-20)
We only see Joseph the earthly Father of Jesus three times in the Bible and each time he has a dream where an angel speaks to him. Each time he has to make a choice. And each time he choses God. Like Mary, mother of Jesus, Joseph said yes.
We are not told how long Joseph lived, but it’s suspected that he died before Jesus started His ministry. It is said that Joseph died in the arms of Jesus and Mary. But before his death he was an active parent to the child Jesus. Joseph was a carpenter and he most assuredly taught Jesus the craft along with the Jewish faith that was such an important part of their lives.
The Church celebrates two feast days for St. Joseph. The first is March 19 where we celebrate these three passages about Joseph dedication to God and his family.
The second feast is celebrated May 1 and came about in response to the communist celebration of International Worker’s Day. In 1955 Pope Pius XII established the feast to honor St. Joseph the Worker. It was created to reflect St. Joseph’s status as the patron of workers.
St. Joseph is the patron saint of many things, including but not limited to, fathers, the dying, social justice, unborn children. One of the most important things he is the patron saint of the Universal Church.
St. Joseph shows us that all of us are important in God’s plan. Not any one of us can be considered a pawn or useless in God’s plan.
A Prayer to St. Joseph:
St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it, guide it, as you did with your adopted son. Amen