Our Patron Saint
Sacred Scripture reveals him as silently obedient to fulfilling the plan of God and it’s clear that it was a plan he couldn’t entirely understand. Although he didn’t understand, he trusted. St. Matthew tells tells us that, “When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Matthew 1:24).
God gave great responsibility to Joseph, but his was not a glamorous role. His role in God’s plan of salvation might seem as though it’s greatly overshadowed by that of his wife and his foster-son.
Despite his link to the house of King David, Joseph was a poor working man; a stable was the only place he was able to attain for his wife to give birth; and in Jesus’ presentation at the Temple, pigeons were the only sacrifice he could afford. Joseph remains a reminder of Jesus’ humble origins; indeed, Jesus was the son of a simple carpenter.
Scripture tells little else of Joseph, but we know that soon after the Holy Family’s return from Egypt, he effectively disappeared from the narrative, making way for the ‘Father-Son’ relationship: Jesus and his heavenly Father.
Virtually every response or action that we attribute to Joseph seems to have been done in deference to others, to decrease in order that others might increase. From the moment he accepted God’s designs for his life, his concerns were primarily for those entrusted to him. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, earthly father of Jesus, was an ordinary man to whom God granted extraordinary graces, and given a singular mission in God’s plan of salvation. He dedicated his life to fulfilling this vocation.
For many centuries, the Church paid him little attention. In part, this was done so that there would be no confusion that Jesus’ true Father was God. It was only in the 16th century that the Holy Family began to be venerated and so the Church began to take notice of Joseph, at last acknowledging him as the provider and protector for the Holy Family. In 1870 Pope Pius IX declared him Patron of the Universal Church. Perhaps it can be said no better than does the entrance antiphon for his feast day Mass, the Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19): “The Lord has put his faithful servant in charge of his household.”
--Fr. Todd O. Strange