For Christmas, during this year of COVID-19, we would like to bring you a short post about St. Joseph as this is one of the most crucial saints not only in Catholic tradition, but also in the history of the church and of the life of Christ. Of course, Joseph is the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the father of Jesus Christ so his role in that sense is important, but we should understand the background that he has in order to fully grasp how he fits into the lineage that led to our Savior.
The obvious background of Joseph is that he was a hardworking carpenter and not a wealthy or influential man. He offered a sacrifice at one point in the scripture of a pair of pigeons or similar birds, depending on the translation that you are reading. This type of sacrifice was typical for those who could not afford to buy a lamb for the sacrifice. We also know that he was a carpenter in several places of scripture, including references to Christ as a carpenter’s son. The fact that Christ himself was a carpenter is also indicative of the fact that he was raised by one and therefore groomed for that work.
Although Joseph was a man of low station and humble livelihood, he did come from a royal lineage which is how his participation in Christ’s life is in line with the prophecies of the Old Testament. There is some disagreement about some of the minor details in the lineage of Joseph, but his direct connection to King David is of no dispute. This makes sense because David was also of humble beginnings but he was also made to be the greatest king of Israel. This is in keeping with the prophetic notions of Christ being the son of God, which implies a level of compassion and service that embodies the character of God. However, it also represents the other side of the prophecies of Christ that discuss a King of Kings being born as the Messiah.
Joseph was a man of great faith and a sense of mercy and compassion. Although he was shocked by the conception of his son in his virgin wife, he remained steadfast in following God’s will in his family life. He not only harnessed the faith necessary to trust that Mary was not an adulterer and that she was carrying the son of God, but he also knew that there was a severe punishment for women who were adulterers in their society. He hid her away in order to protect her reputation as well as to protect her physical life and prevent her from being stoned or punished in some other way.
Although Jesus was the son of God, Joseph viewed him and treated him as his own son. He knew the weight of responsibility in raising him up but he also is seen to have genuine love and concern for Christ the same way that any father would have for his son. There are many references among the people of Nazareth in scripture mentioning Christ as the son of Joseph, which indicates how their relationship dynamic was visible to the people in their community.
St. Joseph died with Jesus and Mary by his side in the same way that any loving father would hope to die, surrounded by his loving family. Because of this, Joseph is seen by the Catholic Church as the patron saint of dying, and is often prayed to when someone is preparing for the end of their life. He is also seen as the patron saint of the Universal Church because of his significance in how the church was built. He was a family man, a protector of his child and his wife, he was an immigrant and traveler when bringing Christ into the earth but also when they fled to Egypt to protect the safety of his family. He was also a craftsman and worker, so all of these categories represent members of the Universal Church that St. Joseph represents and provides particular comfort and protection to.
For this father's day, you can find some St. Joseph medals for devotion directly from Rome in our store, or by searching in your local Church gift shop. We carry a large selection of medals and catholic gifts that can be blessed on demand by Pope Francis.
If you don't know how to find the perfect gift for your dad for father's day, just ask us to help you!
Also check out our BLOG: CATHOLICALLY TODAY: LOVE, PRAY, WRITE and read more interesting articles researched by our writers.