Friday, August 3, 2007

Joseph & Mary A Holy Union

The Scriptures don't reveal much about Joseph, but the little that is shown in Scripture is very telling. What Scripture does reveal is that Joseph was a good and kind man and also obedient to God. We see this when Joseph discovered that Mary was with child and though he was deeply troubled still he sought to protect Mary by quietly divorcing her. Joseph knew that if he revealed that Mary was pregnant and the child was not his, then the Law would have required her to be punished. Joseph a man of deep faith and deep compassion would have recoiled in horror at such a thought.

Ofcourse we know an Angel appeared to Joseph and revealed the Truth. What is remarkable about Joseph is his deep sense of obedience and trust in God. Unlike Zechariah, Joseph did not question the Angels authenticity but simply obeyed the Angels Command realising that it came from God Himself.

Joseph truly is a shining example of a simple man who trusted God. What Scripture reveals is that God had also entrusted Joseph to this Mission in full knowledge of Joseph's deep and abiding faith. Joseph was a devout man who was obedient to the Strictures of the Law and each year the family would go to Jerusalem for the Passover.

Both Joseph and Mary would have led an ordinary life even though they were an extraordinary family. He was a capable carpenter and one can imagine Joseph making furnishings and other household necessities in order to provide for his family.

It was a hard life in that Joseph would have had to contend with the blistering heat of the day, dust, insects and a multitude of discomforts. Joseph simply accepted all as from the Hand of God and kept his own counsel as he worked and prayed to the God he loved.

Both Mary and Joseph would have raised Jesus within their chaste and Holy marriage as a normal family. This was shown when Jesus went missing and filled with great anxiety both Joseph and Mary went in search of their beloved son. They found Jesus had been teaching in the Temple but it was Mary who questioned her son and not Joseph who once again maintained his own counsel.

These years before Jesus Ministry began were blessed one's for both parents. Much like any other family they would have shared stories around the dinner table. Perhaps some teasing in a gentle humorous manner and maintained a deep prayer life. Perhaps Joseph also shared his carpentry skills with Jesus teaching him the different facets of working with wood and also the different Seasons of the land. They were indeed a happy and holy family, taking joy in each others company, living simplistic lives and at the core of their family unit was a deep and abiding love for God and their Faith.

Joseph was not merely a representation of a father figure; he was in the true sense a most noble father to his son Jesus. Protective of him, teaching his young son the Faith and instructing Jesus on life issues, the vagaries of nature and some gentle humour. This great man also loved Mary, his wife with a deep devotion and a chaste love which bonded them together.

So it must have brought true grief to both Mary and Jesus when this most holy of men died. Scripture does not reveal when or where this took place but it must have been before Jesus began His Ministry as Joseph is not mentioned.

St. Joseph is the most perfect example of a man who lived his life simply with great obedience to God and as Head of his Home. Joseph lived his faith in total trust of God's Goodness not just to himself but to his family.

God trusted this simple man to take care of and protect both His Son and Mary Most Holy. Joseph fulfilled his Mission.

Joseph is indeed God's own man.

As God placed such trust in Joseph this humble carpenter, who are we to question it?