The “hidden life” of Jesus’ childhood is also entrusted to Joseph. He is eyewitness to the birth of Jesus. He greets the shepherds who come to adore the Infant Jesus. And he marvels at the coming of the Magi.
Joseph, in his religious role as father, brings Jesus to the temple for the rite of circumcision, and names him. The name of Jesus denotes his mission: “God saves.”
But before Jesus can one day save, Joseph must first save Jesus from the malevolent Herod seeking to kill Jewish infants in order to wipe out any kingly rival being born among them (Cf. Mt. 2: 13-14). Again, God’s angel speaks to Joseph in a dream. He promptly obeys, departing for Egypt with the Holy Family until danger has passed.
I said earlier this week that Pat Gohn’s piece on St. Joseph was a must-read and it really is. Don’t miss it.
Deacon Greg supplies this photo along with an excerpt from one of his homilies:
. . . the man betrothed to Mary was a man of worries, and apprehension, and even fear. This morning, I’d like to suggest that Joseph is also a man who speaks to our own time.
He is a man for our age – an Age of Anxiety.
He must have known economic uncertainty – wondering how he would support and sustain his family, running his own small business. He had to pay taxes – to “render unto Caeser.” Like many people today, shortly after his son was born, Joseph and his family became refugees, immigrants in a foreign land – the land that had held his people as slaves. Joseph also lived with the threat of terror – a ruthless king bent on murdering children.
On a more personal level, Joseph knew the anxiety of any man about to become a father. He must have asked himself: am I ready for this? Am I good enough, strong enough, wise enough? And then, confronting the very real possibility of scandal, Joseph must have had more than a few sleepless nights. How, he must have wondered, could he protect and spare the woman he loved?
A man for our time, and a homily for it, too!
All I know is, when I was a kid, my mother gave me St. Joseph’s Aspirin for children, and I always liked that it was named for St. Joseph!
New Advent has the big bio
Meanwhile: Who is Baby Joseph and why should I care?