In Matthew’s account of the Nativity of Jesus, the evangelist calls Joseph a “righteous man”, someone who lived in accord with divine law. We celebrate this saint every year on March 19, a solemnity, although this year it is pushed back a day to March 20 as to not interfere with the observance of the Third Sunday of Lent.
I was speaking with Fr. Phil before writing this article on St Joseph, asking if he had any insights. He said I should write about all of the quotes from Joseph in scripture. Very funny…there are no quotes of Joseph in scripture! But what we do have is a picture of a man of faith who listened to God and persevered in his vocation. I didn’t have a particular devotion to Joseph until my daughter was born. After that, I was asking for his intercession pretty regularly, and I’m sure that will only increase as she gets older!
We are reminded that Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ “real” father, and sometimes that fact is used to diminish their relationship. However, though we think of our children as our own, so too is God their true Father. Just as God placed Jesus in Joseph’s care, he entrusts his children to us. Parents are stewards, not owners. For me, thinking about my daughter in that way, as belonging to God rather than to me and my wife, motivates me even more to make sure I do everything possible to form her as a disciple, bring her to encounter God, and, as I promised at her baptism, keep that flame of faith burning brightly throughout her life. This often involves setting aside expectations for our lives, and the lives of our children.
At St Raphael on Monday, March 20 the 11am Mass will be followed by special traditional festivities, including a beautiful altar and procession, to celebrate and ask for the intercession of St Joseph. May we all strive to live by Joseph’s model of holiness and faithfulness to God.
Submit your liturgical questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
– Jeff Rice, Pastoral Associate of Liturgy & Music