Thursday, March 19, 2015

Feast of St. Joseph, Guardian of Jesus

Today is the Feast of St. Joseph, Guardian of Jesus.  St. Joseph has been honored throughout the Christian centuries for his faithful devotion in helping Mary to raise Jesus.  Matthew’s Gospel tells us that Joseph was a righteous man, who followed the angel’s instructions and took the already-pregnant Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:24).  In the Gospels, Jesus is referred to as “the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55).  This suggests that Joseph had building skills with which he supported his family.  He followed the angel’s instruction in taking the Mary and Jesus to Egypt in order to escape Herod the Great’s murderous plot (Matthew 2:14).  Joseph last appears in Scripture when he and Mary faithfully take the twelve-year-old Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover (Luke 2:41-51).  Joseph, the guardian of our Lord, has long been associated with caring parenthood.

Scripture reading:
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.
(Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23)

Collect of the Day:
Almighty God, from the house of Your servant David You raised up Joseph to be the guardian of Your incarnate Son and the husband of His mother, Mary.  Grant us grace to follow the example of this faithful workman in heeding Your counsel and obeying Your commands; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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