19th March 2021
...the husband of Mary...
Today the church celebrates
the feast day of St Joseph,
the husband of Mary.
Pope Francis called him,
'the man who goes unnoticed,
a daily, discreet and
hidden presence who
nevertheless played an
incomparable role in
the history of salvation.'
We know very little about Joseph,
there are no words of his recorded in the Bible,
yet he must have played a significant
role in Jesus' formative years.
Let me briefly list for you the
things we know about Joseph:
What we do know is his father was Jacob;
his family hometown was Bethlehem in Judea
but he lived in Nazareth in Galilee.
That meant that Joseph and Mary had to
travel about 95 miles in the dead of winter
in order to register for the census.
He is from the royal line of David;
the genealogy in Matthew 1 makes that clear.
He was a deeply religious man,
a devout keeper of the Law.
He was a carpenter by trade and not rich -
we know that because when he and Mary
presented Jesus in the Temple,
they brought a turtledove to sacrifice.
Jews only did that when they
could not afford a lamb.
How old was Joseph?
We just don't know, and I don't think
it is of relevance; young or older,
every step he took testifies
to his greatness:
By marrying Mary quickly,
he broke all Jewish custom,
but he protected her reputation.
She was pregnant and he wasn't
the father but he married her anyway.
By keeping her a virgin until Jesus was born,
he protected the miracle of Jesus' conception
by the Holy Spirit against slander by
unbelievers and he officially took Jesus
into his family as his own legal son.
He also protected his family by taking them
to Egypt when Herod started his reign
of terror against the young children
and shielding them until they could
safely return to Nazareth.
I like Joseph. I wish I could meet him.
He strikes me as a very good man.
He was tough when he could have been weak.
He was tender when he could have been harsh.
He was thoughtful when
he could have been hasty.
He was trusting when he could have doubted.
We are surrounded by people
who need a Joseph in their lives;
to demonstrate the love of God
through word and deed.
We are surrounded by people who need
a Joseph in their lives
to show them who God is.
Can that Joseph, or Josephine,
be you and me? Why not?
What's stopping us from being
that person to someone else?
It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
sung by Michael Cardp
via the link shown below.