By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Cap.
One of the central figures in our Christmas celebration is St. Joseph. Yet in the Bible we read no word that he spoke. We are simply told some things that he did.
He is called a “just man.” One way of describing justice is that it involves “right relationships,” giving each person what is due him or her. Joseph is called “just” because of the way he treated Mary when faced with the puzzling situation of her pregnancy. Of course, he gets some divine help through a dream. “Do not be afraid to take Mary, your wife, into your home.”
I do not get direct messages in dreams or from angels and so I don’t know what this was like for Joseph. But he got the message and followed it. He basically became the protector of Mary and Jesus. He was also probably a practical man, a carpenter, used to working with his hands. So, just, practical, hard worker, loving father: not a bad person to get to know.
From a few lines in the Bible, a great tradition of devotion has developed in the Church. And now Pope Francis has decided to dedicate the coming year to Joseph: a time for all of us to reflect on our experience. How are we doing at justice: treating each person with respect? How are we at paying attention to the subtle hints of the Holy Spirit in our decision making?
How are we at caring for and supporting the people close to us? St. Joseph, be our guide.