St. Joseph is a figure I can relate to. I am the son of a carpenter. The scriptures do not say a lot about Joseph but my own imagination fills in some of the blanks. I see Joseph as the strong quiet type. More noticeable for his steady presence then for the words he uses; a man of deep thought and not one to act impulsively. As Mary and Joseph search for Jesus on their way back home from Jerusalem I see Joseph reassuring Mary who is getting more anxious by the minute. “Don’t worry, we’ll find him.” he would comfort.
Actions speak louder then words the saying goes. While Joseph’s words are few his actions speak of his character as a provider, finding shelter in Bethlehem when there was no room for them in the inn, and as a protector when he listens to his dreams and escapes Herod’s grasp by leading the family to Egypt.
In 2 Samuel, David is promised a legacy, a house that would stand forever. As we celebrate the memory of St. Joseph we celebrate the fulfillment of a promise which God made to his servant David. Over the course of many generations God had every reason to renege on that promise as our side of the covenant was abused and battered. Yet God remained faithful and in time a righteous man was born who would become the adoptive father of Jesus Christ.
With the lives of those generations, generations of saints and sinners, God built a house that would be his home here on earth. Using flesh and blood our immortal creator established a dwelling so that he could live among us. Such was his great love for his creation.
I picture Joseph in the wood shop, patiently tending to his work while at the same time answering the questions of his young son who looks up to his father. This same son who would discover his own vocation, but never forget what his father had taught him about patience, compassion and perseverance. The mystery of the incarnation is that this divine Son was formed in his character by the likes of us. Jesus became human so that we might become divine. (2 Peter 1:4)
On this feast day we recall St. Joseph as the patron of our nation of Canada. There are no parades for St. Joseph but in the oratories and in the churches which bear his name his guiding presence continues to be felt.
What images of your own father give you insight into the Father in heaven?
Think of your life’s mentors; how have they made you who you are today?