Charity registration No. SC002876  
Sunday October 6th. 2013
October — the month of Saint Joseph
Anything we know about Joseph, husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus, comes trom the Scriptures. We know he was a carpenter, a hard-working man, for when the Nazarenes asked about Jesus, they said: "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55). He was not a rich man, for when he and Mary took Jesus to the Temple, he could only offer two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, which was a substitute for those who could not afford a lamb Despite his humble origins, the gospels give some details about Joseph's genealogy and tell us that he was a descendant of David, the greatest king of Israel. Indeed, the angel Gabriel, who first tells Joseph about Jesus, greets him as son of David, a royal title used also for Jesus. Joseph was obviously a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they were betrothed, he knew the child was not his, but was still unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He did not want Mary to be humiliated or hurt because the Jewish law was so harsh. He knew that  women accused of adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce Mary quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty. (Matthew 1: 19-25).    We know that Joseph was a man of deep faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him - even when he did not know what the outcome would be. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately, and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back home.    We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of the child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure village of Nazareth out of fear for the child's life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple, Joseph and Mary searched with great anxiety for three days until they found him  where he was teaching the learned doctors. Joseph treated Jesus tenderly as his own son, and the people of Nazareth would say of Jesus, “Is this not this the son of ]oseph, the carpenter?"    Joseph had a deep respect for God’s laws, and attended the synagogue regularly with Mary and Jesus. He also took his family to Jerusalem every year for the feast of Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man. We know from the scriptures that Joseph is not mentioned when Jesus started his public life. We hear about Mary during this time, but of Joseph there is no word.  One would have expected Joseph to have been mentioned at either the death or resurrection of Jesus, but there is only a silence. Most scripture scholars accept that Joseph probably died before Jesus entered his public ministry.   And so, Joseph is the patron of the dying because he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, at his bedside, the way we all would like to leave this earth. Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, of fathers, carpenters, and social justice.
   We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19th, for Joseph, the Husband of Mary, and May 1st for Joseph the Worker. The Church dedicates the month of October to St. Joseph as its Universal Protector. He was given the sacred task by God to care and provide for the Holy Family, and now the new family of Christ, the Church, is dedicated to St. Joseph that he might take it under his protection. There is much we would love to know about St. Joseph - where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture is silent, and has left us only with these most important words about him: “He was a righteous and just man”. St. Teresa of Avila’s devotion to Saint Joseph. Recently, I  have been reading the life of St. Teresa of Avila.  As a young nun, she was afflicted with several illnesses, both physical and spiritual, one  which left her almost completely paralysed.   >>>>>>>>
The Holy Family as depicted by the Spanish artist Murillo (1618-82). Although Murillo has given Mary and Joseph Spanish features, this lovely scene is typical of what might have taken place in their home — Mary carding the wool. the basket of clothes at her side, and Joseph with the Child Jesus who is playing with the dog.