Uncle Eddy's E-mail -- March 19
Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary, Patron of the Universal Church and of happy deaths, (entered heaven this day sometime in the first century)
Have you ever thought about how God would describe
you? If he were to introduce you to the heavenly court, for instance, what would he say?
“Attention everyone! Attention! Here is Seth, the son of Karl and Martha, the
architecture student, the…” What would he say? It’s an odd question, I’ll admit.
It came to mind as I was reflecting on today’s saint. God describes him to us directly,
explicitly, with a one-liner that should knock our socks right off. God is the principle
author of Sacred Scripture, remember, and he insured that although the human authors were real
authors, they wrote only and all that which God wanted to be written. So when Scripture
describes Joseph (David’s descendent, Mary’s husband, and Jesus’ foster-father), it’s like God is
introducing us to him. And what does he say? “Joseph was an upright man.” (Matthew
1:19) Some translations, say “a just man,” or “a godly man.” If you think about it, that
is an amazing statement. It means that God was fully satisfied with St Joseph. God could
count on him; he was upright, trustworthy, honest, virtuous – this is God describing him, and God
But what did Joseph do to receive such a
recommendation? Nothing spectacular from our perspective. Scripture doesn’t even record
one word he spoke. All we know is that he was poor (which is why he and Mary had to offer two
doves instead of a lamb when they presented Jesus in the Temple), he was a carpenter (which is the
equivalent of town handyman), he followed the Jewish customs, he was devoted to Mary, and he obeyed
God’s will. That above all. On a merely natural level, what God asked of him (marry a
pregnant virgin and live as her husband but in perpetual continence; travel and back and forth to
Egypt; protect and educate the Son of God…) was uncomfortable, to say the least; it probably didn’t
fit too well with his personal plans. But he was willing to abandon his plans in favor of
God’s will whenever the Lord asked him to. In the Lord’s book, that’s what makes someone
If that’s the case, no wonder St Joseph is
Patron of the Universal Church: if we all did what he did, we would all be saints.
Your loving uncle, Eddy
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