Updated: January 26, 2023
In the next 10 days, I’m going to post a 10-part meditative essays on St. Joseph.
I didn’t write them. They were written by Louis Templeman, a prolific writer and known in Catholic circles as the Catholic Journeyman. If you want to be more familiar with Louis and his writings, please visit http://www.catholicstewardsofcreation.com/home-2/catholic-journeyman/catholic-journeymans-archive/
Below is the first of these 10 meditative essays:
Matthew 1: 16 “. . . Jacob, the father of Joseph, husband of Mary of her was born Jesus who was called the Messiah”
Who was Joseph? His father was called Jacob, according to Matthew; however Luke does not mention Jacob. He calls Joseph the son of Heli. We can suppose that Jacob and Heli were themselves father and son with Joseph the grandson. Such is the way of ancient genealogies where certain fathers and grandfathers who are less significant in family history are left off the list.
The angel, we assume Gabriel, also referred to Joseph as a son. The angel mentioned not Jacob or Heli but rather promoted Joseph to something more appropriate for his involvement with the Messiah. The angel called him Son of David.
This must have caught Joseph’s ear much the same way as the timid Gideon who while threshing his grain in secret for fear of Israel’s enemies was approached by an angel who called, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor.”
Joseph heard his call, “Son of David”, as an honor and as a call to service, even as did Gideon. It would be difficult to overestimate the significance of the honor the angel gave to Joseph in calling him Son of David.
Luke also refers to Joseph as “father of Jesus (as was supposed)” because it doubtlessly kept secret by Joseph and Mary that Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit and therefore Jesus was actually his foster son. Joseph is known by his relationship to others. Son of Heli. Son of Jacob. Son of David. Husband of Mary. Father of Jesus. And, we might also add chosen vessel of God for a lifetime of silent, steady service in a most significant ministry.
When we hear at funerals or read eulogies in magazines we note any achievements or honors that has been earned or awarded the deceased. Yet, it is the personal testimonies of the living who speak of the deceased’s value as a person in his relationships to other that we find most striking. On those relationships we mark his value as a human being. What we know of Joseph is he was a son of . . ., husband of…. and father of . . . . And we must assume, with certainty he was exceptional in all three roles.
We can know what kind of son he was by a brief statement in Matthew 1: 19 and by the angel’s exaltation of him, Son of David. This was both prophesy and a title of honor. King Solomon was Son of David. The Old Testament’s name for the Messiah was Son of David. The blind man Bartimaeus, whom Jesus healed, called the Lord, Son of David.
The title Son of David is no small matter. Joseph was exalted into heavenly places by that sobering and awesome title. And, as previously stated, even as Gideon rose to the challenge of the angel’s call to him, so Joseph lived up to his new name.
1 John 3:1-2 says:
3 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Joseph was called the Son of David…we are called children of God. Wow! What a huge challenge. Let us pray that by the grace of God, we will pass this challenge with flying colors!