March 19 - The Feast of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary
What emanates from the figure of Saint Joseph is faith. Joseph of Nazareth is a "just man" because he totally "lives by faith." He is holy because his faith is truly heroic. Sacred Scripture says little of him. It does not record even one word spoken by Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth.
And yet, even without words, he shows the depth of his faith, his greatness. . . He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God.
Few details of St. Joseph’s life are known. Neither his birth date nor the date of his death are known for sure. Tradition holds that he was older than Mary at the time of their marriage, though his exact age can not be definitively determined as the only documents that note his exact age and other details are apocryphal works. Joseph died sometime prior to Christ’s Passion, and tradition holds that Mary was already a widow when Jesus’s public ministry began.
Still, with just a few short mentions in Holy Scripture, Joseph’s character is evident. His actions portray him as a man who was open to God, obedient, upright, and kind. In learning of Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph did not act to repudiate and shame her publicly, a harsh step which could even put a woman in danger of capital punishment at the time. Rather he decided to divorce her quietly. But Joseph was open to God and so when an angel came to him in a dream and told him to take Mary home as his wife, he faithfully obeyed. He was obedient again when commanded to flee to Egypt to protect Mary and the infant Jesus. In these passages, Scripture shows a man of Faith and virtuous action whose willingness to follow God is an example to all.