March 19 is the solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which the Church recognizes his faithfulness, his love, and his acceptance of the will of God for his life.
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)
When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son. … When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead. ”He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazorean.” (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23)
Many Christians who expect and experience the motherly care of the woman who gave birth to Jesus do not realize that they have a father in the man we honor as “St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
Yet in his role as “patron of the universal church,” the just and faith-filled guardian to whom the eternal Father confided his Son now continues his care for the whole Body of Christ.
Speaking of the Old Testament patriarch, an Egyptian pharaoh once told people to “go to Joseph,” his steward, when they needed food to survive a famine (Genesis 41:55). Today, think about going to the New Testament Joseph and becoming better acquainted with the man whom Jesus loved as his earthly father.
What qualities made Joseph a good earthly father for Jesus? How is St. Joseph a father for us, too?
He is a special intercessor for many important areas—marriage and family life, work, dying, and prayer. Bring some need or prayer to his attention, perhaps writing it on a slip of paper and placing it before a statue or picture of St. Joseph in your home.