A few years ago, our son called and excitedly told us that they were expecting the birth of their third child, their first son, and that they had decided to name him Joseph. Diane and I immediately thought of Joseph in the Old Testament. We thought a baby quilt of many colors might make an appropriate gift.
We were then informed that our grandson was being named in honor of
Neither St. Mark nor
God did not think it wise or prudent that a father be merely a bystander in the life of a family. A child needs the love and active involvement of both a father and a mother. With as much care and thought as Mary was selected to be the Mother of our Lord, God prepared Joseph for his important role as a father.
Joseph also lived the virtue of Obedience. This morning’s Gospel tells us that while Joseph thought on these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream telling him that the child was from the Holy Ghost and that he should take Mary as his wife. This was the first of three dreams Joseph received and he humbly and obediently responded to each one in faith. To obey requires listening, accepting what is said, and following through in action, even when it is difficult or challenging. Joseph was obedient and as such he modeled obedience for the child Jesus as he grew towards manhood and the Cross.
Following God can be inconvenient and require a change in thinking. Being asked to be a foster father and human role model for the Messiah was not a job one would normally volunteer for. Joseph the husband had to be helpful, caring, sensitive and reliable. He took full responsibility, caring for a very pregnant wife on an arduous three or four day journey from
Later on, Joseph the family man had to endure fleeing his ancestral home, becoming a refugee and reestablishing himself in an expatriate community. He knew what it was like to search for a job and to provide for his family’s needs. Joseph the worker was a “tekton”, which in Greek refers to being a craftsman or artisan, one who works with wood, stone or metal. He labored hard physically, on a daily basis, to provide for the needs of his family.
Nonetheless, Joseph was faithful to the call of God upon his life. After a time, when it seemed the danger was over, there appeared to be nothing to keep Joseph in
Scripture does not record one word uttered by Joseph. It only tells us of what Joseph the silent did in his life. However, as Jesus teaches us, quote, (
Twenty centuries later, Joseph still provides us with an example of what it means to live as a godly man. We learn from Scripture that Joseph was faithful and obedient to all that God asked of him. He was a protective husband and father who placed the well being of his wife and child above his own wants and desires.
He was certainly “Not your average Joe.”