Reflections for the Year of St. Joseph

Joseph, Caring Husband and Father

When Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the Temple, their words reveal the characteristics of Joseph’s holiness. They correspond to God’s plan for him, which he, being the just man that he was, would fulfil with marvelous fidelity. “Your father and I have been looking for you anxiously,” Mary said. “I must be in my Father’s house,” Jesus replies. It is precisely these words of the Son that help us to understand the mystery of Joseph’s fatherhood. In reminding his parents of the primacy of the one whom he called “my Father,” Jesus reveals the truth about Mary’s and Joseph’s role. Joseph was truly Mary’s “husband” and Jesus’ “father,” but his being a husband and father is totally subordinate to that of God. This is how Joseph was called to become one of Jesus’ disciples: by dedicating his life to serving the only-begotten Son of the Father and his mother, Mary. It is a mission that he continues to carry out for the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, to which he never fails to give his provident care, as he did for the humble family of Nazareth. 

—Pope St. John Paul II

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