Reflecting on Matthew 1:1-25
There must be thirty distinct characters in the Christmas story, but I find myself drawn to St. Joseph more and more. Does it seem to you that he is everywhere?
More Christian shrines are dedicated to him than any man besides Jesus. I wonder why. He doesn’t speak a single word in scripture. He doesn’t have to. He is overshadowed by the Holy Spirit in his dreams, and, like that young Joseph in Egypt 1600 years earlier, he trusts that God is speaking to him through them. That trust saves the Child, and you and me, and will, in the fullness of time, save the world.
St. Joseph the Worker. That’s the image that most of us know. Jesus is called “the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55,) and that image has made its way into art of all ages. We see him working with wood, but “carpenter”—tekton—-may also have been someone who works with stone. There weren’t a lot of trees in Nazareth, but there was a large rock quarry just three miles away. Joseph and Jesus may, in fact, have worked on the large Roman city, Sepphoris, very close to Nazareth, a city largely constructed of stone, as were most of the homes in the region.
Interesting, but not at all why we love St. Joseph. We love him because of his quiet strength, his protection of Mary and the Child, his wisdom in discerning how God is acting in his life. We love that, BEFORE Gabriel told him of the virginal conception of Jesus, he had already decided to divorce her quietly, lest she fall prey to the Orthodox readers of Deuteronomy 22: 13-17, and be killed. Love him.
St. Joseph, we need you. Please dream a new world for us this year.
What would you like to ask St. Joseph this Christmas?
Kathy McGovern ©2022