Whom Do We Celebrate?

st. joseph and childToday is the Solemnity of St. Joseph!

We call him Light of Patriarchs, Spouse of the Mother of God, Gaurdian of the Redeemer, Pillar of Families, Protector of Holy Church, and Patron of the Dying–yet how well do we know this beloved saint, the Silent Man of Scripture?  Like the Blessed Virgin, he is rarely spoken of in the gospels.

Author Tim Gray addresses this apparent deficiency in the following excerpt from his article “Silent Knight, Holy Knight: St. Joseph in Sacred Scripture”:

If we search the New Testament for Joseph, we at first find very little to quench our thirst for knowledge about him. For he is mentioned only in passing by John (Jn 1:45, 6:42) and he appears only in the opening chapters of Luke and Matthew. Yet in the midst of this apparent desert, there is a wellspring, an oasis even, of spiritual insight for us, if we would but draw out Scripture’s depths.

Drinking thoughtfully at the well of St. Matthew’s Gospel, the attentive reader finds that the few words Matthew gives us speak volumes (cf. Mt 11:15), for they echo back to the story of another Joseph, the patriarch Jacob’s son. Many readers of Matthew have noticed the strong similarities between St. Joseph and the Joseph of Genesis. Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Quamquam Pluries (see “Transformation in Christ,” pp. 30-31), says that this similarity has been “confirmed by the opinion held by a large number of the Fathers, to which the sacred liturgy gives its sanction, that the Joseph of ancient times, son of the patriarch Jacob, was the type of St. Joseph, and the former by his glory prefigured the greatness of the future guardian of the Holy Family.”

This article was originally published in Lay Witness magazine.  Follow this link to learn about subscribing.


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