Thursday, March 19, 2009
Happy St. Joseph's Day!
Today, March 19th 2009, marks only one of the two official Catholic feast days occurring during Lent. Typically feast days aren't celebrated during this time of repentance but both days are of such vital importance to the Catholic faith and to all of us. (Contrary to popular belief St. Patrick's Day on March 17th is not an official Feast Day except in Ireland.)
Today is the Feast of St Joseph, earthly foster father to Jesus and husband to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The second feast during Lent is the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25th to commemorate the revelation by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive of the Holy Spirit and bear the Son of God, Jesus.
A carpenter by trade, Joseph had his doubts when Mary told him she was with child. It was out of those two pure qualities that God desires most; mercy and Love that he agreed to quietly divorce his beloved to prevent her being stoned to death under the law, when an angel appeared to him in a dream and revealed to him the truth that Mary was carrying the Son of God.
Descended from the house of David and being an obedient man of God, Joseph immediately married her to prevent scandal. When the angel told him they were in danger he took them and fled to Egypt, only to return when the angel again told him it was safe.
While still having free will, it was Joseph's Love of Mary, his mercy toward her and his obedience to the will of God that make St. Joseph one of the most beloved saints. Jesus, though knowing he was the Son of God, remained in His Father's law and respected and Loved His earthly father and mother and was subject to their very human authority.
It's important to note that the fullness of the humility of God being born as one of us in Christ Jesus, though fully God and fully man, was not just in His humble birth in a manger, but in living as one of us and subject to the authority of His earthly parents every day for thirty years until He began His ministry. Jesus' being the perfect Son was most certainly a reflection on having had the most perfect earthly parents chosen by God Himself.
Joseph is the patron of the Catholic Church, fathers, carpenters and of social justice. St. Joseph is also the patron of the dying. Since there is no mention of St. Joseph in the Gospels, it is generally assumed that he died before Jesus began His ministry at age 30. What more beautiful way for such a righteous man to leave this earth than with our Savior Jesus and the Blessed Mother at his side.
St. Joseph, pray for us.