Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
2 SM 7:4-5A, 12-14A, 16/ROM 4:13, 16-18, 22/MT 1:16, 18-21, 24A
Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Joseph. When I was asked to write a reflection for this day, I realized that I had never taken time to reflect on the personality of St. Joseph. All I knew was that he was a righteous and just person, and the patron of workers and fathers.
Writing this reflection, I realized that St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus, is not often mentioned in the Bible. Actually, he is mentioned fewer times than I can count on my hands. This made me realize that St. Joseph is a person of great silence, great love, and is constantly giving.
The silence of St. Joseph is not a passive silence. Actually, this silence is the key for listening. In order for me to listen to the other and his/her needs, I need to be silent. St. Joseph did not only listen to the needs of his family by being silent, he gave up his own dreams and what would make him happy (perhaps getting married to Mary, having a lot of kids, having the best carpentry business, etc.) However, he gave up his dreams in order to be able to take care of the needs of the people that he loves (Jesus and Mary). He did all that out of love. By that, St. Joseph shows us that love and self-giving are united. Love is to give and receive without counting; it transcends justice.
In light of this, Jesus’ command to his disciples makes sense, “…love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn. 15:12-13). Jesus must have had a good role model growing up. The way that St. Joseph lived impacted Jesus to such a degree, that Jesus wanted to model his earthly father. Jesus gave himself for us on the cross out of love. Let us, during this season of Lent, follow the model of St. Joseph: embrace silence, love, and give of oneself.
Professor, Theology Department