Today we celebrate this Solemnity of St. Joseph. I emphasize “solemnity” because it is the highest rank of saint days that we have. We don’t know a lot about Joseph. Yet, what we do know is from Scripture itself.
We know he was of the house of David from the genealogy provided in Matthew 1:1-17. We know he was betrothed to Mary when she was “found with child through the Holy Spirit.” Knowing he could not be the father, Joseph assumed she had committed adultery. Being a righteous man, he decided to divorce her quietly. Then, “the angel of the Lord” told him to take Mary as his wife for she had conceived by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the most important thing we should know about Joseph is that he always did as the Lord directed. Thus, he became the father of Jesus.
St. Joseph is the patron of several causes.
He is the patron saint of the universal church. His wife, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the Mother of the Church. It is fitting that he be the patron saint of the universal church.
He is the patron saint of unborn children. He knew Jesus was not his biological son but he accepted Jesus in the womb as a gift. We pray for all unborn children.
He is the patron saint of fathers. He accepted the role given to him to be the father of Jesus. He serves as an example to all fathers to raise their children according to the Lord’s ways.
He is the patron saint of workers. Matthew 13:55 identifies Jesus as the carpenter’s son. As a righteous man, Joseph would have been a dedicated man to his work.
He is the patron saint of travelers. Here we remember the flight to Egypt when Joseph did as the angel directed and took Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod (Matthew 2:13-15) and their return, again as directed through the angel of the Lord (Matthew 2:19-23). In their travels to and from Egypt, St. Joseph is also the patron saint of immigrants.
He is the patron saint of a happy death. While scripture does not tell us, tradition says Mary and Jesus were there when Joseph died. We seek the same from our loved ones when we die.
St. Joseph is an example to us. An example of listening to God, to being a good spouse, a good father, and a dedicated worker. May we always follow his example and do as the Lord ask of us in all things.