Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Old or young? Just and good!

     Having grown up in a parish under the patronage of Saint Joseph, I have a special appreciation of this great saint in my heart.  I remember learning a hymn to Saint Joseph whose opening words were something like: "Great Saint Joseph, son of David, foster father of our Lord ..."

     In my days in Scottdale as pastor we had a Benedictine Religious Sister by the name of Sister Ann.  She had a particular crusade in regard to Saint Joseph - and that was to debunk the legend that he was "old".  Our edition of the Roman Missal has a picture of Joseph and Jesus, and he could be a grandfather by his looks, rather than a dad.  Sister Ann would not be happy.  With Mary being about fourteen when she and Joseph became engaged, Joseph could be considered an "old man" and still be in his early twenties.  Good point.  But whether old or young, it matters little.

     What does matter is the certainty that Joseph was a just and a good man.  With so little recorded evidence of the man, we know him to be a simple man of deep faith, hard working and dedicated to family and traditions, a deeply loving and committed husband to the girl of his dreams in very unusual circumstances, and a loving foster father who embraced Mary's son as his own and provided everything that they needed.  He is a good man ... and a just man.  Of that there is no doubt.

     On this feast of Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus, a Son of David, the patron of a happy death and patron of the Universal Church, our Holy Father entrusted all dads to the example and the goodness of this gift of God.  May we follow his example.

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