A Short Essay St Joseph Father of Jesus
The shining example of fatherhood in Joseph the father of Jesus.
Not the biological Father but as so often occurs the de facto father has the most to do for and with the child/children. We know certain key pointers to Saint Joseph:
- He was most chaste (Divine Praises) and thus of high calibre.
- He came of very good Jewish stock and lineage – root of Jesse as the Bible says.
- Above all he was married to Mary Virgin Mother of God and lived his married life alongside her.
- He was a carpenter by trade which occupation required skill, strength in body, imagination and cooperation with suppliers and customers.
- Jesus worked alongside him – Father and Son must have got on well.
2. Challenges in St. Joseph’s life
- First and foremost when Mary his betrothed told him she would give birth to the Son of God by the Power of the Holy Spirit through the appearance of Archangel Gabriel. Clearly he doubted Mary’s veracity and was plunged into real darkness but he was not left wanting as the Lord was his Shepherd Psalm 23. Mary’s love for him overcame his great dubitations and he emerged her spouse. He did not let her down. She was his fiancée and they married according to the Jewish rite as it was in those days. Engaged and courting couples go in to periods of hesitation. St Joseph understands and will bring them through to fulfilment in their married vows. St Joseph teaches us doubt is no bad thing as eventually it reinforces the right answer in each one of us. Doubt is the key to faith believe it or not – we all have our doubts. St Joseph achieved stability in his married and family life and came through his faltering. It is honest to have second thoughts and admit them.
- Presumably St Joseph’s marriage was not consummated. Again he was called upon to deny himself and apply the message of Gabriel which he found so disconcerting and contrary to his upbringing and beliefs. In this self-denial we have one of the greatest of his examples particularly for the Roman Catholic priesthood in their celibacy. St Joseph did not even meet Gabriel but he was being expected to apply his commands in his life. There was internal pondering and contemplation including restlessness in St. Joseph over Gabriel’s message to Mary which was aimed at Joseph not only Mary. The result was St Joseph’s obedience to God the Father as the Father outlined this plan to him through the words of his betrothed Mary. The ultimate test of belief in God is obedience – St Joseph was not lacking.
- We all know the Christmas Story and the Census at Bethlehem – a time of great joy for Mary and Joseph despite there being no room at the Inn with the Shepherds, the Choirs of Angels, the Wise Men and the Star of Royal Beauty Bright. Here again Mary and Joseph were believing the unbelievable but they now had the precedent of the Annunciation and their understanding of that mystery (the 1st Joyful) and the birth of the Son of God in the stable. They both accepted he was that Son destined for great things make no mistake.
- The escape to Egypt followed once again, St Joseph driven forward this time off his own bat. Mary dutifully complied. They would each follow the other’s lead. Then the return to Nazareth for the carpenter where he lived out his days with his family.
St Joseph’s life was maybe not as active and controversial as some e.g. his Son Jesus. Yet you could hardly be more direct and effective than to form and bring up the Son of God for his preaching life and ordeal and crucifixion. Quietly Joseph’s influence was seminal to Jesus convictions and thinking. Of course Jesus was taught to pray by his parents – he did not go to school like us. (We don’t hear of a temple in Nazareth). The line between God the Father and Christ came the natural way Father to Son and back as it does with all of us i.e. St Joseph and Jesus. God works first and most importantly the best way through those we love who are close to us. i.e. our parents and our families. The same applied to St Joseph and Jesus and Mary. Mary’s role was supported by St Joseph – they both equally brought up their son in the love of God in the Jewish tradition. Of course we do not have the clear cut step by step story of this family’s life from return to Nazareth to Jesus beginning his teaching life. However St Joseph is blessed in Christian eyes and his son was the Nazarene his father’s town. Let us not omit to recall the power of St Joseph in the life of our Saviour. St Joseph could not have been given such a vital and pivotal position unless God trusted him. Thus we may confidently pray to St Joseph who is truly the father of Christ and spouse of Mary. Without St Joseph there would be no Christendom. Mary and Jesus could not have done it alone. May we offer St. Joseph our prayers of gratitude and beseech him to intercede with his Son so we may better apply familial good conduct in our lives.