Mt 1:16, 18–21, 24a
(or Lk 2:41–51a)
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus who is called the Christ—the Messiah.
This is how Jesus Christ was born: Mary his mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to disgrace her.
While he was pondering over this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a son.
You shall call him ‘Jesus’ for he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph awoke, he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do, and he took his wife to his home.
Today as we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, we are invited to reflect on the importance of the father in our lives and the lives of children, whether he is in the household or not. God deemed it important that in Jesus’ humanity, he would experience a family life that would help him grow and mature in grace and wisdom in a normal setting with the help and guidance of a father figure, a “just man” in the eyes of God and the world. In a patriarchal setting such as the Jewish culture, the role of the father is important for the identity and development of the child. Its importance cannot be discounted in spite of patriarchy’s unjust consequences on the status of women in church and societal structures. Recent studies show that there is evidence indicating that father engagement positively affects the social, behavioral, psychological and cognitive outcomes of children. Pope Benedict XVI highlights this special role of Joseph, writing of him as “the model of the ‘just’ man (Mt 1:19), who in perfect sympathy with his spouse, welcomes the Son of God made man and guards over his human growth.”
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