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Apostolic Movement

St. Joseph, Blessed Virgin Mary’s husband.

By: Ernesto Camarena

How can we talk about a person about whom lots of pages have been written, but of whom we have little information? How can we talk about the role of someone who was very close to Jesus in his childhood and adolescence, but who, to some extent, is not spoken about?

St. Joseph is, without a doubt, an important figure in the life of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. His role, although discreet and silent, is crucial in the History of Salvation. He is the great patriarch of the Old and New Testament.

Every March 19, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of St. Joseph.

It is worth noting the title by which the liturgy remembers him: Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, showing his key role, since by the fact of being the Blessed Mother’s husband, he had the privilege of being Jesus’ adoptive father.

Let us remember that the Hebrew father had the obligation to teach the law and the proper lifestyle of the people of Israel; then, it is Joseph who offers Jesus the formation as an Israelite, teaching him to observe the commandments, making him acquainted with the Law and the traditions of the people. Joseph, by divine decree, was Jesus’ teacher! Joseph taught Jesus to pray, to love God the Father, to adore Him with all his heart.

Jesus, King of the whole universe, wanted to teach us humility and obedience, since, being the Sovereign of the universe, He became a child, allowing Himself to be assisted and cared for by Mary Most Holy and by Joseph. Jesus was God, Wisdom incarnate, but he hid his divinity and lived subject to his parents (“He returned with his parents to Nazareth and lived subject to them” says Luke 2, 41-52) only out of love for us, to give us an example of how to be sons and daughters.

Furthermore, what a great father Joseph was! Jesus calls God Abba (Father), as little children called their father. If Jesus refers to God like this and portrays him to us in this way, it is undoubtedly because Joseph must have been a great father, a reflection of God. It is Joseph of Nazareth who offers believers the beauty of fatherhood, presenting it as an opportunity to collaborate in God’s plan of salvation.

Another detail I want to mention about St. Joseph is the adjective with which St. Matthew describes him: just. This word in the biblical mindset is synonymous with saint. That is to say, the evangelist Matthew speaks to us of the fame of saintliness that Joseph enjoyed in his native Nazareth.  On the other hand, the same evangelist, when presenting the genealogy of Jesus, follows a very particular structure: ‘X’ was the father of ‘Y’. For example: “Abraham was the father of Isaac; Isaac the father of Jacob” (Mt 1:2) and so on, until he reaches the moment of presenting Joseph, where he does not say: “Joseph was the father of Jesus” following the previous structure with which he had presented the other characters, but he says: “Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom Jesus was born” (Mt 1:16).

Joseph is the just and obedient patriarch, who seeks to fulfill God’s will at all times, even at the cost of disrupting his plans and projects. He is the man who allows himself to be guided by the Lord, even when things are not entirely clear. He opens himself to God’s will and collaborates with his plan of salvation as an active participant. The figure of St. Joseph, in the Gospel, is presented as that of a quiet man (no sentence spoken by him is reported), who allows himself to be guided by what the God of Israel, the God of his fathers, reveals to him in dreams.

St. Joseph also teaches us the beauty of being able to seek and fulfill God’s will in the face of all adversity.

His life was not all rose-colored; he faced difficult moments, for example, when he could not find a place for them in Bethlehem, when he had to flee to Egypt, when he anxiously searched for Jesus in the temple. However, he always let himself be guided by God.

St. Joseph is the patron of the Church and is presented to us as a model and protector. He is a model to imitate in his obedience to God’s will, in his love for Jesus and Mary, in his humility and dedication, in his devotion and commitment.

Let us ask St. Joseph, the husband and father chosen by God to head the Holy Family of Nazareth, to protect our families.




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