Joseph a Man Among Men
The Scriptures don’t reveal much about Joseph, but the little that is shown in Scripture is very telling. For it lets us know, immediately that not only was Joseph a good and kind man, but he was also obedient to God, in that Joseph never questioned the Angel that directed the path which he should take in order to protect the life of both Mary and Jesus.
We also know Joseph to be kind and compassionate when he recognised that Mary was with child, in full knowledge that he was not the father, Joseph bore no ill feelings towards Mary, though hurt and confused he must have been. So when he made the decision to quietly let Mary go, he did so to once again protect Mary from the authorities.
Of course we know the Angel appeared to Joseph and unlike Zechariah, Joseph did not question the Angels Divine intent, but simply trusted that this was Truth and took Mary as his espoused wife. Joseph truly is the shining example of a man who trusted God, but also a man in which God Himself placed much trust in, for God recognised Joseph’s humility and entrusted the protection and upbringing of His Beloved Son.
Scripture also reveals that Joseph was also was a devout man who from obedience maintained the Strictures of the Law, and took his family each year to Jerusalem for the Passover. So from this we know that Joseph was a man of great Faith, a man who trusted God implicitly, a good and Honourable man, but how did he live?
Joseph like Mary would have led an ordinary life within an extraordinary family. He was a very capable carpenter and one can imagine Joseph making furnishings and other necessities for their home life, as well as fulfilling any work obligations for his customers in that Joseph was not a wealthy man and had to provide a good living for his Holy family.
There would have been great difficulties, in that it was placed on Joseph to protect this most Holy of families, and also some hardships, in that whilst their son Jesus grew healthy and strong, many other fathers and mothers had lost their first sons by Herods cruel edict!
But Joseph was a man who kept his own counsel and gained his strength through prayer, for it was hard living in those days of heat, dust, insects and a multitude of discomforts, all of these conditions Joseph would have worked under, yet not once did he ever complain.
Both Mary and Joseph would have raised Jesus within their chaste and Holy marriage as a normal family, we know this by Scripture when Jesus went missing only for both parents to find Jesus in the Temple three days later. One can imagine the concern, fear and anxiety that both Mary and Joseph would have gone through, and the relief upon finding Him, when to the amazement of all who was listening to the young Jesus and the intensity of his Wisdom, as he questioned and listened to the Elders. And when upon finding their beloved son it was Mary who queried why her son had gone missing but not Joseph, who once again, maintained his own counsel.
These years before Jesus ministry were blessed ones for both parents, in that they would have shared jokes and stories, with the child Jesus sitting at their feet and learning from them both. Joseph would have shared the carpentry trade with the youthful Jesus, teaching him how to make furniture and other equipment needed to farm that harsh landscape. They were indeed a happy and holy family taking joy in each others company, living simplistic lives and at the centre of their lives were always their love for God and their Faith.
Joseph was not merely a representation of a father figure; he was in the true sense a most noble father to his son Jesus, protective of him, teaching him the Faith, instructing him on life issues and the vagaries of nature. Showing a filial and most Holy and Chaste love for his wife, Mary, all these things Joseph taught the young Jesus as any father would do.
So it must have brought true grief to both Mary and Jesus when this most Holy of men died. Unfortunately Scripture does not reveal when this took place but there is speculation that it was before Jesus Ministry as Joseph is not mentioned when Jesus began His Ministry. Joseph would have died with the two he loved most, surrounding his bed, his beloved and chaste wife Mary and his beloved son Jesus his Savior, one can imagine the peaceful passing of one so great in obedience and in spirit.
St. Joseph is the most perfect example of not only humble obedience but for all fathers who are raising their own families, for in Joseph and Mary we have a true guide as what constitutes a family. One who lived his Faith in total trust of God's Goodness, in providing an income for this most holy family and of instilling a strong Faith because the love for his Faith sprang from within.
Joseph and Mary truly are and lived the meaning of a Holy Union, let us all learn from this most Holy of Parents.
Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.