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.
Today we are celebrating St. Joseph the husband of Mary and the guardian of Jesus.
If we asked at random, say, a hundred Christians, “Apart from Jesus Christ, who is the greatest man of history?” what percentage of them would think of choosing Joseph, the humble carpenter of Nazareth of whom not a single word is reported in the gospel? Yet, of him Pope Leo XIII wrote in his Encyclical Letter Quamquam Pluries (August 15, 1889), “more than any other person Joseph approached that supereminent dignity by which the Mother of God is raised far above all created natures.” Not surprisingly, in 1870 Pope Pius IX solemnly proclaimed Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.
What did Joseph accomplish which places him above all other saints after Mary? He taught Jesus how to be a man, a real man—a person of utter fidelity, courage, reliability. The greatness of Joseph is that he taught Jesus the art of living—as well as the art of dying. And that is the greatness of any real father.
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