We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55). He wasn’t rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).
Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph’s genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesusgreets him as “son of David,” a royal title used also for Jesus.
We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).
We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited inEgypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).
We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazarethout of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22)
We know Joseph respected God. He followed God’s commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus’ birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.
Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.
There is much we wish we could know about Joseph — where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was — “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:18).
In His Footsteps:Joseph was foster father to Jesus. There are many children separated from families and parents who need foster parents. Please consider contacting your local Catholic Charities or Division of FamilyServices about becoming a foster parent.
Prayer:Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen
In Valencia, Spain, the feast of the foster-father of Jesus is a week-long festival called Fallas de San Jose (Bonfires of St. Joseph). On St. Joseph’s Eve, March 18,fallas (huge floats of intricate scenes made of wood andpapier-mâché, satirizing everything from the high cost of living to political personalities) parade through the streets. At midnight on March 19, the celebration ends with the spectacular ceremony known as the crema, when all the fallas are set on fire. The festival is said to reflect the happy and satirical nature of the Valencians. More…Discuss
Lipatti was a Romanian pianist whose career was tragically cut short by Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 33. Despite a relatively short playing career and a small recorded legacy, Lipatti is considered among the finest pianists of the 20th century. He was much admired for his pianistic technique, and he is noted for his interpretations of Mozart, Bach, and Chopin. As a teen, Lipatti came in second in the Vienna International Piano Competition. How did his failure to take first place impact his future? More… Discuss
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia‘s major landmarks, connecting Sydney’s central business district with the North Shore. Nicknamed the “coat hanger” because of its arch-based design, it is among the world’s widest and longest bridges, and it towers as much as 440 feet (134 m) above the harbor. Despite opening during the Great Depression, the bridge was heralded by lavish festivities. How did a member of a right-wing paramilitary group interrupt the bridge’s ribbon-cutting ceremony? More… Discuss
Getting adults up and moving may be as simple as removing benches from playgrounds. Researchers found that removing seating from children’s playgrounds increased the amount of exercise adults got as they supervised the youngsters in their care. When the benches were removed from one playground, adults were 23 times more likely to engage in moderate to vigorous activity than when the benches were present, and they were no more likely to cut their children’s playtime short as a result of the lack of seating. More… Discuss
Named for Pope Gregory I, who is credited with recodifying chant and liturgy in the 6th century CE, Gregorian chant is the monophonic, unaccompanied liturgical music of the Catholic Church. It is thought to have its roots in Jewish cantillation and in the Byzantine chant of the Greek Orthodox Church. Though the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) curtailed the use of chant in church services, recordings of Gregorian chants were topping pop music charts as recently as when? More… Discuss