by Larry Peterson
I call Joseph of Nazareth the “Shadow Saint” because, even though he was responsible for being foster-father to the God-man and husband to the God-man’s mom, the Blessed Virgin, his own life was so quiet and unknown. He had to shelter them, protect them, feed them, provide for them. He married Mary (who was a teenager) while the cloud of “adultery” (a sin punishable by death) hung over her head. Imagine how incredibly difficult this must have been for him, a “righteous Jew” who followed the law and found himself betrothed to a pregnant woman who was not carrying his child. He must have loved Mary so much and had such great faith.
Then he managed to take her to Bethlehem for the census when she was almost full term. If that were I, I would have been sick to my stomach the whole way, wondering if my wife could make it and if the child would survive. This was an 80-mile trip over rocky and dusty roads and Mary had to ride a donkey. Then, after the baby is born in a dingy stable with smelly animals, he had to hide his wife and Son and run from the maniacal Herod, who wanted the child dead and had ordered his soldiers to find Him so they could kill Him. Imagine the fear and anxiety as you try to avoid detection. Feel your heart pounding faster and faster at the sound of every hoofbeat or snapping branch. I cannot imagine. Joseph must have had incredible courage.
Back in Nazareth he raised his Boy as any loving and caring father would. He aided the Boy when he took his first steps, held Him on his lap when he scraped his knee causing it to bleed, showed Him how to eat, taught Him how to pray, read the scriptures to Him and tucked Him into bed at night. No-one ever in the history of the world has ever been entrusted with such incredible responsibility. No one in the history of the world could tell Jesus, the God-man, when to go to bed or when to wash His hands for supper or “not to interrupt” if mom or dad was speaking. Yet, we know so little about this just and holy man. What we do know is he saved the Son of God who, in turn, lived long enough to save us all. Oh yeah, he also was married to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He loved her with all of his heart, took care of her, and protected her against all dangers. There is a love story for you.
There are no writings left behind by Joseph. There are no words that were spoken by him that were ever recorded. We have no idea as to what he might have even looked like. None of that matters, because we do know he was there when God needed him to be there. Last year Pope Francis picked St. Joseph’s Feast Day day to be installed as Pope. This was no coincidence I am sure. Joseph is considered the Protector of the Universal Church. He is also the patron saint of fathers and families. Next to his wife, he is the greatest of all other saints. Just remember that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, called him, and only him, “dad”. And maybe (I like to think this) the Blessed Mother called him “sweetie” or “hon”.
Hey guys, imagine this. You get up in the morning and your wife says to you, “Good morning sweetie, want some scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast?” You turn and look and the Blessed Virgin Mary is standing there in a housecoat holding two eggs in her hand. That would have happened to only one man in all of history and his name was Joseph. No one, anywhere, ever, was afforded such an honor. No one.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY ST.JOSEPH. Thanks for being there for your Boy, your wife, and for setting such a magnificent example all of us.