Saturday, March 19, 2016

For All the Saints: St. Joseph

Today is St. Joseph's Day in many traditions: the feast day of Joseph the husband of the Virgin Mary, although in Eastern Christianity, his day is the Sunday after Christmas. Joseph is only mentioned in the Bible in Matthew's and Luke's birth narratives, and Matthew's genealogy for Jesus is that of Joseph's family. Mary is present throughout Jesus' adulthood and also in Acts 1, but we've no scriptural traditions about Joseph's death. For many centuries Joseph has been venerated as the protector and guardian of Jesus, and whose work as a carpenter Jesus shared prior to his ministry.

The Catholic Saints site has this about Joseph: "The Bible pays Joseph the highest compliment: he was a 'just' man. ...  By saying Joseph was 'just,' the Bible means that he was one who was completely open to all that God wanted to do for him. He became holy by opening himself totally to God.

"The rest we can easily surmise. Think of the kind of love with which he wooed and won Mary, and the depth of the love they shared during their marriage....

"The just man was simply, joyfully, wholeheartedly obedient to God—in marrying Mary, in naming Jesus, in shepherding the precious pair to Egypt, in bringing them to Nazareth, in the undetermined number of years of quiet faith and courage."

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