Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great feast day and solemnity of St. Joseph, who is the foster-father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the most devoted and chaste spouse of His mother, Mary. On this day we honour with great dedication the memory of the one person whose faith, devotion to God and whose hard works had brought so much good unto the works of Christ, whom as His adopted father, he did his best to smoothen the path of the Lord.
Indeed, Jesus is both fully God and fully Man at the same time, having assumed the flesh of Man through the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As God, He is omnipotent, All Powerful and All Knowing, but yet, in His humanity, He was also once a small and weak child, as all child are, and He was cared for very well by His parents, St. Joseph and Mary, His mother.
It was most likely St. Joseph who taught Jesus on the crafts and trades of the world, telling Him and teaching Him how to live well in this world, as all fathers are indeed supposed to do. Meanwhile, Mary most likely taught Him how to love and to be gentle to others, just as it was in her nature to love others. In that therefore, Jesus walked in the footsteps of His family, and He was also likely to be a carpenter as Hi foster-father Joseph was.
It was because of that then Jesus was persecuted and rejected by His own fellow townspeople, the people of Nazareth. These were the ones who had known Jesus since when He was just a Baby, and followed Him up as He grew in the care of His parents, Joseph and Mary. Being the Son of a carpenter certainly did not bring much prestige in those days, as even though the work of a carpenter is tough and honest, but no one is likely to want to have such a profession.
It was certainly not a job that brought about prestige, fame or human praise, and neither did it bring much wealth. The family of Jesus was most likely poor or even very poor, barely just making it through with the income they had and with meeting barely just the daily necessities. And yet, the Holy Family is indeed the happiest and most loving and perfect among the families ever present and ever will be in this world.
And part of that was because of St. Joseph himself and what he has done. St. Joseph was a righteous and upright man, who did not hesitate to do what is right and just before God and men alike. And he was also a person with a heart for mercy and love. This was shown when he found out that Mary had conceived a Baby prior to their marriage and consummation. This would have constituted adultery, and the ones involved in it would have been sentenced to death by stoning.
Being an upright man, as well as a loving person, St. Joseph did not want to subject Mary to this kind of suffering and humiliation. Although he did not know what had happened and even though he knew that Mary could not have committed adultery, given her character, St. Joseph was an upright and God-fearing man who would not let injustice be part of his action. Thus, to him the best act was to divorce her quietly, which would not bring about harsh punishment to Mary.
Yet, St. Joseph was told that he was being brought into the greater plan of God, which He had crafted and planned for many years and ages. Through Mary, God intended to bring about His salvation and to finally reveal Himself to the world. By the incarnation of the Divine Word and Son of God as the Son of Man, the Son of Mary, St. Joseph was made to be the foster-father or adopted-father of our Lord, by the ties of marriage which bonded him to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and Mother of our Lord.
And what St. Joseph had done in whatever little information we had on him, and from the Apostolic Traditions have shown us how a father in a family should have behaved like. As the father in the household, he is the head and leader of the family, and by leading his family, the Holy Family, through times of both difficulty and danger, and through times of happiness and joy, he had shown examples that would make many of us be ashamed.
He was a faithful and devoted husband who helped and who was with his wife Mary when she was heavily pregnant with Jesus and was about to give birth, and yet they had to travel a great distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the city of David, of whom Joseph is the heir and descendant. In this, the prophecies and words of the Scriptures were fulfilled, that the Heir and Son of David was to be born in His city, Bethlehem.
He endured on even as inns after inns and houses after houses rejected them. He found a stable where eventually the Saviour of this world was born into the world. He led the Holy Family, especially Jesus, to safety when king Herod wanted to kill Him out of jealousy and fear for his rule, which Christ would supplant eventually. He led them to live in Egypt for a while as an exile before leading them back to Nazareth after Herod’s death.
He was a dutiful and devout father, who presented Jesus in the Temple and brought Him to the Temple when He was of age. Although as mentioned in the Scriptures that Jesus recognised God as His true Father, nevertheless we also heard that He also obeyed His parents and followed their instructions as He grew up to be a Man filled with grace and blessing of God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate this feast and solemnity of St. Joseph, all of us, especially fathers and parents among us, we should reflect on our actions in this life. We have to ask ourselves, on whether we have tried to live up to the standards of the works and actions of St. Joseph. If we have not done so, then we truly have a lot of work ahead of us.
Today we also commemorate the second anniversary of the Installation and Coronation of our Pope, Francis, the Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pontiff, leader of the Universal Church who is called Holy Father because he is indeed like our father. In this we have to understand that we have to give our obedience to the Pope, the Magisterium and the entirety of the Church authority and teachings, all of which served to guard the true and authentic faith as passed down to us from the Lord through His Apostles.
In this season of Lent therefore, and from what we reflect on this solemn occasion, we should aim to follow the examples of St. Joseph, in his works, in his actions and also in his faith and devotion to God. There are many of us in this world who can benefit greatly by walking in the footsteps of the foster-father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the most faithful spouse and husband of our Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. St. Joseph, pray for us all. Amen.