Feast of the day

Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Solemnity

3/19/2019 12:00:00 AM

Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Solemnity

Husband of the Blessed Virgin
Patron of the Universal Church

       Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today, 19 March, we celebrate the Solemn Feast of St Joseph, Spouse of Mary and Patron of the Universal Church. Therefore, we dedicate this catechesis to him, who is deserving of all our gratitude and devotion for the way in which he guarded over the Holy Virgin and her Son Jesus. Being a guardian is the distinctive trait of Joseph: Being the guardian is his great mission.

Today I would like to take up the theme of guardianship under a particular aspect: the educational aspect. We look to Joseph as the model educator, who watches over and accompaniesJesus as he grows “in wisdom, age and grace”, as the Gospel says. He was not Jesus’ father: the father of Jesus was God, but he was a father to Jesus, he was a father to Jesus in order to help him grow. And how did he help him grow? In wisdom, age and grace.

Let us begin with age, which is the most natural dimension, physical and psychological growth. Joseph together with Mary, cared for Jesus above all from this point of view, that is he “raised” him, taking care that he lacked nothing he needed for healthy development. Let us not forget that guarding faithfully over the Child’s life also entailed the Flight to Egypt, the harsh experience of living as refugees — Joseph was a refugee with Mary and Jesus — so as to escape the threat of Herod. Then, once they had returned home and were settled in Nazareth, there was a long period in Jesus’ life spent with his family. In those years Joseph instructed Jesus in his work, and Jesus learned to be a carpenter with his father Joseph. Thus Joseph raised Jesus.

Let us move to the second dimension of his education: “wisdom”. Joseph was for Jesus the example and the teacher of the wisdom that is nourished by the Word of God. We could ponder how Joseph formed the little Jesus to listen to the Sacred Scriptures, above all by accompanying him on Saturday to the Synagogue in Nazareth. Joseph accompanied Jesus so that he would listen to the Word of God in the Synagogue.

And lastly, the dimension of “grace”. St Luke always says of Jesus: “the favour of God was upon him” (2:40). Here, of course, the role reserved to St Joseph is more limited than it was in the area of age and wisdom. But it would be a grave error to think that a father and mother can do nothing to form their child to grow in the grace of God. To grow in age, to grow in wisdom and to grow in grace: this is the work Joseph did with Jesus, to help him grow in these three ways, to aid his growth.

Dear brothers and sisters, Joseph’s mission is certainly unique and unrepeatable, because Jesus is absolutely unique. And yet, in his guardianship of Jesus, forming him to grow in age, wisdom and grace, he is a model for every educator, especially every father. St Joseph is the model of the educator and the dad, the father. I, therefore, entrust to his protection, all parents, priests — who are fathers — and those who have an educational role in the Church and in society. In a special way, I would like to greet today, being fathers’ day, all parents, all fathers: I greet you from the heart!