When I think of Joseph, I think of his Son.
I think of Him standing surrounded by people, stones in their hands. I think of his Son bending His knee in front of the Temple Elders to take the hand of a prostitute and an adulterer–forgiving her sins with no other intent than to show her He loved her, no matter how others condemned her.
I think of the man who raised that Man–the man who would rather divorce his expectant fiance than to stone her. Did he have nightmares, I wonder? Late at night, in the cool of dusk, looking at his wife and Child asleep in their beds, did he have nightmares that the opposite had happened? That word had gotten out about Mary’s supposed indiscretion–that he would leave Temple one day and find her dead? How he must have trembled to even contemplate the possibility of losing who he loved so deeply.
I think of him telling Jesus the story of how he married His mother–the shock and the scandal, the fear of the village’s reactions–the joy in his eyes as he described the indescribable beauty and terror of the angel that visited him to assure him of God’s presence in the womb of his intended.I think of Joseph’s unwavering commitment and courage when political forces threatened his Son’s life. He didn’t question his heavenly command to leave–he just did. All that mattered to him was his wife and Child.
I think of him loving Mary so utterly, so fully, that he showed his Son the truly divine way of how to treat and love women. His Son learned that from Joseph–He learned of their dignity and worth firsthand as He was raised from a child into adulthood. And He carried His father’s tender love for women for the rest of His life, not even spurning the hysterical and dramatic exclamations of grief and repentance from prostitutes and peasants. He took their hands, dried their tears, embraced them, forgave them.
Joseph, silent father of the Gospel, taught the Son of God how a Son of man should follow the will of the Divine, completely and utterly, barring no social construct or imminent danger. He showed Him the undeniable strength in true love, in true devotion, in true fealty and honor. He showed Jesus how He should live and love as a Man, and showed Him the value of woman, beyond anything else their society taught.
Thank you, St. Joseph, for being one of the good ones, and for raising one of the good Ones.
Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-person-cute-young-2133/