St. Joseph – Righteous Just Man of God, Guardian Father of the Redeemer, Safe Keeper of the Eternal Word

Published by Jacob P Varghese on

St. Joseph is one of the most ignored Saint in our Church. Other than the second Sunday before Christmas dedicated to remembering the “Revelation to Joseph”, we do not remember him in any of our prayers – not even in our Thubden (Diptychs). St. Joseph is also not a popular Saint when it comes to naming Churches, schools or institutions after him in our Church.

Joseph, the just was born to Jacob in the house of David in Nazareth (Matt. 1: 16, Jn. 1: 45). Gospel of Luke 3: 24); refers to as the ‘son’ of Heli. Joseph was a carpenter (Matt. 13: 55) in Nazareth. His sons, were called Jesus’ brothers (Matt. 12: 46; Jn. 7: 3). Joseph was just (Matt. 1: 19), humble, righteous before God and led a model life. Mary had been dedicated to God and given to the Jerusalem temple. At the age of thirteen she was betrothed to Joseph.

JOSEPH – Righteous and Just  

Joseph is almost silent throughout the Gospels. Nonetheless, our Gospel offers a description of Joseph that is admirable – that he was a “righteous man.” Joseph was an upright Jew, faithful to the sacred law and lived by that law in good example. Before the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph to reveal God’s will for him, Joseph was determined to avoid denouncing his wife in public. As we read of his reaction to Mary with child Jesus in her – “. . . Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly . . .” In the revelation from the angel, we see the solemnity of St. Joseph, servant of God. St. Joseph was indeed full of faith because he openly submitted himself obediently accepted what he had longed to see but had not seen and longed to hear but had not heard until he was privileged to see and hear when God chose to reveal it to him. St. Matthew 1: 19, states that Joseph was ‘a just man’ in tune with the will of God.

Guardian Father of The Redeemer  

Venerated as a Saint by many Christians, Joseph first appears in the bible in the Gospel of Mathew and Luke; In Mathew, Joseph’s lineage is traced back to King David, the greatest king of Israel (Matt. 1: 1-16; St. Lk. 3: 23-38). Everything we know about St. Joseph the husband of Mary, and the foster father of Jesus comes from the Bible and mentions of him are under whelming. St. Joseph was obedient to God’s words. He lived in Nazareth (Lk. 2: 4) and was a carpenter (Matt. 13: 55).

Jesus would have said “Abba” first to Joseph. Jesus’ obedience to his father and mother, obedience essential to his law-keeping on our behalf, is directed toward Joseph (Luke 2: 51). Jesus does not share Joseph’s bloodline, but he claims him as his father, obeying Joseph perfectly and even following in his vocation. St. Joseph was the guardian head of the Holy Family. Little is mentioned in the Holy Bible about Joseph. No spoken word of Joseph has ever been recorded. We only have record of him, to what he did and not what he said. We know him by what he ‘did’.

JOSEPH – Safe keeper of the Eternal Word

God entrusted to St. Joseph of Nazareth the “safekeeping of the Eternal Word, made by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary.” God adorned St. Joseph with all the graces he needed to offer himself in total obedience to God’s divine plan and fulfil his vocation of a husband of the mother of Jesus.

JOSEPH – Obedient and Courageous  

He was the “Wise and faithful servant, whom the Lord had put in charge of His household” and who, with obedient docility, accepted the will of the Lord completely in the eyes of faith since God’s plan for his life went beyond human understanding. St. Joseph was a man of obedience; he never questioned what was asked of him. St. Joseph accepted everything the angel told him and vowed that he would take care of St. Mary. St. Joseph accepted God’s commandments of marrying Mary and to be the foster father of Jesus Christ and to take care of them from enemies who aimed at the life of baby Jesus. St. Joseph was a humble, courageous servant of God. The term “righteous” sums up Joseph’s life perfectly.  Whatever God asks of him and whenever He asks it, Joseph does it.

The Rod that Blossomed

The Lily flower branch is associated with St. Joseph spouse of Mary is through an ancient legend that he was so chosen among other men by the blossoming of the lily. Mary ‘s parents had given her, as a virgin child to the temple. When Mary was on the verge of womanhood. The high priest announced that it was time for all of the temple virgins of that age to return home so that marriages could be arranged for them. Mary, however, said that she could not do this since her parents had dedicated her to the service of the LORD and that she herself had made a vow of virginity to God. When the high priest sought guidance from God, a loud voice called forth twelve men of the House of David, instructing them to come to the Temple and to bring a staff to lay in the sanctuary.

The voice said, that one of the staffs would bloom forth with flowers and that the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, would land upon the staff. Joseph was one of the men who came and when he placed his staff in the sanctuary, next morning it bloomed and a dove descended from heaven and landed on it, thus revealing that Joseph was to take virgin Mary as his spouse. This selection was done with the help of the Holy spirit and that why pictures of St. Joseph reveal a flowering rod.

Joseph, a man of Revelation and Visions

Joseph is a wonderful biblical example of integrity and godly character. Joseph was a man of strong conviction who lived out his beliefs in his actions. Joseph was glorious even in his poverty and humiliation Joseph was able to remain calm and courageous in affliction and danger. He obeyed God in the face of severe humiliation. He did the right thing before God, in the right manner. Joseph’s leading quality was his righteousness. He trusted God and in turn, God trusted him with His precious Son. Joseph who was always guided by God and who willingly allowed himself to be led by God is a worthy example for all.

Angel Appeared to Joseph on Four Occasions  

  1. Angel Gabriel appeared to Joseph in a dream and he said, “Take Mary home as your wife”. When Joseph woke up, he did as the Angel commanded him. (Matt. 1: 18 – 25).
  2. The Angel had another message for Joseph – “Go to Egypt” Herod searches for Jesus to kill Him, lest Jesus become the king instead of him. Joseph was warned in a dream, in which angel Gabriel tells him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt. They left immediately and did not come back until the angel told him to do so. (Matt. 2: 13 -15)
  3. After King Herod died, Angel Gabriel told – “Return to Israel” Joseph to take Mary and Jesus back home to the land of Israel. (Matt. 2:19 -21)
  4. But Joseph found that one of King Herod’s sons, Archelaus, was ruling in Judea. So, he was warned in a dream – “Withdraw to Galilee” to go to Nazareth of Galilee. Thus, Jesus was brought up in Nazareth he was also known as Jesus of Nazareth. (Matt.  2: 22-23). Thus, was fulfilled the prophecy that ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’.

Joseph, who cared for Jesus as a child, hugged and embraced him and taught him carpentry, is fortunate. He who received the tending and ministering of St. Mary is a patron to all. In this season of Advent, let us look at the inspiring example of St Joseph the Righteous. Let us serve the Infant Christ in obedience and love especially opening our hearts and arms to those who are weak, helpless, vulnerable, displaced.

On this note, we should remember with thanksgiving the role of our fathers and grandfathers in our life. They quietly toiled for their family, for their children’s future without letting know of the hardships faced by them. We should also remember with gratitude our spiritual fathers who toil for us with their prayers.

May the prayers and intercessions of St Joseph, the Righteous be our refuge and fortress always!


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