Joseph, Son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:20-21).

As we approach Father’s Day this month, it seems appropriate to highlight the legal father and protector of the child Jesus. Pope John Paul II called St. Joseph the “Guardian of the Redeemer” and Pope Francis has invited the church to reflect on him in a special way this year. The Bible does not give us any spoken words from the husband of Mary but describes him as a “just” man. His actions truly speak for themselves and show us his virtues of obedience, faith and courage.

Pope Francis reflects, “Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.” Matthew’s Gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus showing him as the Son of David through Joseph’s line. As with the great servants of the Lord throughout history, God gives the grace necessary to Joseph to accomplish his special mission. One can imagine that next to the Virgin Mother Mary, Joseph needed many special graces to fulfill his unique role in the Holy Family. It is not the great deeds that makes Joseph special, but his faithfulness in the daily duties of life. Amazingly like all of us, the Holy Family suffered many trials and were invited into obedience of the Father’s will. Joseph believed the message of the angel that he received in his dreams and courageously worked to protect the Holy Family. Joseph modeled for Jesus the value of honest work and the holiness of ordinary daily life.

As we celebrate the “creative courage” of authentic fathers in our lives may we not forget the example of Joseph who was a true father to Jesus. The Church has held him up as the patron of a happy death for one can imagine that Jesus and Mary were by his side in his last earthly moments. May we too “go to Joseph” in our prayers as he teaches us the wonders of Christian fatherhood and leads us closer to the Lord.

– Rev. Rick Chenault, pastor, Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church.

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