I always like Joseph and felt not enough attention was given to him, this man with a special mission.The Evangelist Matthew shares just how special he is.

  MT 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

    MT 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

    MT 1:22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

    MT 1:24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Betrothal of Mary and Joseph, stained glass in Church of  St Joseph

The St. Joseph church is built where, according to tradition, used to be the carpentry workshop of Joseph, father of Jesus. Some of the traditions also claim this was Joseph’s house. This Franciscan church was established in 1914 over the ruins of more ancient churches and is located in the Basilica of Annunciation area.

The Church of St. Joseph is also known as the Church of the Nutrition and the Church of St. Joseph’s Workshop.

In the crypt (the lower level of the church) there’s an ancient water pit, mosaics, caves and barns from ancient Nazareth that has survived since the 1st and 2nd centuries B.C. One of the cave, according to tradition, was used as Joseph’s workshop. There in the grotto is also the remains of what could be a place for ritual bath or baptismal font.

stained glass The Dream of Joseph

painting The Holy Family

I always believed that Joseph is the unsung hero in the Holy Family. Fathers have an important influence in our lives and many of us are still struggling with our father related issues (even or especially as we grow older). Even wonder how much of Jesus’ values and piety comes from learning and observing his father on earth? Joseph brought Jesus up to appreciate and love the Torah and the Second Temple Jewish way of life. We do not know what happened to him after Jesus’ childhood. The bible is silent on that. We do not know when Mary became a widow.

Joseph was assumed to be a carpenter. However the Greek rendering may equally be used as an artisan of wood, stone or metal. While it may be that he was a carpenter, however due to the scarcity of wood in the region, he may be a stonemason instead. Jesus would have been brought up in his workshop, learning the value of hard work and skills necessary to excel in their work.

In the period of Advent leading to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of the baby Jesus, let us not forget this important man who stood at the side of Mary and Jesus at this significant moment of human history. and who obeyed God in spite of the humiliation he would have endured from his neighbours about Mary’s pregnancy.

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