St. Joseph, the human father of Jesus and husband of Mary, is honored on two days by the Catholic Church. Today is one of those days – The Solemnity of St. Joseph. (The other is May 1, the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, a memorial instituted by Pope Pius XII and dedicated to the dignity of labor and to honoring workers.)
Although I had no particular devotion to St. Joseph growing up, or even in the early years after my return to Catholicism in my early 40s, today he is one of those who figure prominently when I visualize the communion of saints.
St. Joseph is an inspiration in so many ways. First, he reminds us to give people the benefit of the doubt even when their stories seem strange (read: completely unbelievable). Her never had any proof Mary was not unfaithful to him, yet he listened to the dream/vision that told him to take her into his home.
Second, he helps us remember that we can trust God, even when the world seems upside down. Surely that is a reminder we can all use right now, as we face this pandemic.
Third, and by no means last, like John the Baptist, Joseph reminds us that one doesn’t have to have the starting role to play an important part. We get very little mention of him in the Gospels, yet we know this human father of Jesus was my Mary’s side helping raise Jesus. A quiet presence that protected them and formed a family with them. He wasn’t flashy, he didn’t get a lot of accolades, but he was there, and he played his role. He reminds us that all that matters is that we take our part in God’s plan, not worrying if someone else’s role is bigger.
St. Joseph, pray for us!