Solemnity of St.Joseph, Husband of Mary


2 Samuel 7:4-5,12-14,16
Romans 4:13,16-18,22
Matthew 1:16,18-21,24


Today, we celebrate one of the unsung heroes of the New Testament – Joseph, the man of dreams.  In exploring the events surrounding Jesus’ birth Luke’s Gospel beautifully focusses on Mary. For its part, the Gospel of Matthew explores the events that surrounded Jesus’ birth from the perspective of Joseph. He is a man of outstanding character who will protect both Jesus and Mary.

Messengers from God appear to him in dreams:

1) advising him to accept Jesus as his son since he is conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,

2) calling him to take the endangered family to Egypt, and then

3) returning to Judea and settling in Nazareth.

While these events are described matter-of-factly it can gloss over the struggles Joseph faced as he came to terms with all that was happening. How hard it would have been to accept and embrace how God was working in these surprising and disconcerting events. He had to rise to the challenges placed before him not only to accept Jesus as a son, be a loving and caring spouse, and keep the family all safe amid the dangers that faced them. We take it as given that Jesus was down-to-earth, practical, a person able to communicate well through parables and plain speaking. As a builder, he knew about firm foundations, good planning, using the right materials, measuring twice, and cutting once. All these skills would have been learned from Joseph, a man whose actions spoke louder than words.

Fr. Chris Monaghan CP, lectures in the New Testament and is President of Yarra Theological Union. He is a member of the Passionist community of Holy Cross in Templestowe.