Thursday, March 19, 2015

Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(II Samuel 7:4-5a.12-14a.16; Romans 4:13.16-18.22; Matthew 1:16.18-21.24a)

Boo Radley is the minor hero of the epic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. He is not seen much and says little if anything.  However, when the children of the protagonist, a virtuous lawyer, are threatened by a disgruntled drunkard, Radley intercedes to save their lives.  Although it may seem a bit irreverent, we might picture St. Joseph in a similar role.

Interestingly, St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, does not say a word in any of the four gospels and is only mentioned in three.  Yet he is universally known for being both just and loving.  His righteousness is displayed by his not wanting to embarrass Mary when he discovers that she is with child.  He exhibits the human virtues of courage and prudence as he races Mary and Jesus to Egypt upon hearing of Herod’s plan to kill all male children of the region.  The evangelist Luke further records how Mary commends Joseph’s loving concern as she mentions that he, as much as she, was anxiously looking for Jesus when the lad is found with the teachers in the Temple.

St. Joseph serves as a model for men, especially fathers, in a world that is losing its sense of masculine virtue.  He also shows all of us the priority of expressing love for others with faithful presence and self-sacrificing action over the often misleading use of words.