by Louis Templeman
Luke 2: 46, “. . . but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him . . . . When his parents saw him they were astonished . . . . But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them.”
Joseph is only mentioned one other time in the Gospel record. That came after Jesus had begun his ministry. He headquartered in Capernaum He returned to Nazareth to preach. The businessmen and religious workers in his hometown were understandably upset that Jesus chose not to headquarter there in his hometown. Nazareth was insignificant. It could have benefited from the notoriety and the influx of seekers who would have brought income to the village as they sought out the young rabbi.
When Jesus preached they were amazed at his beautiful words of wisdom. Yet, they were also insulted and jealous. They complained that he did no mighty works in his home town like he was famous for doing elsewhere. Doesn’t he owe it to us they groused. Didn’t he grow up here? Is he not the “son of Joseph?”
They may not have been complimenting either Joseph or Jesus. Perhaps they were comforting one another with a reminder of the simple peasant heritage Jesus had. Why Joseph was no better than they were. Who does Jesus think he is?
But we may infer the Holy Spirit providentially placed this title on Jesus, Son of Joseph, in the scripture purely because of God’s own validation of the man, his chosen vessel, Joseph. No less than the Second Person of the Trinity took on the holy appellation of Son of Joseph. When the angel inspired Joseph to accept a hard truth and a tough job he called him Son of David. When God recalled how well Joseph performed as a son of David, he referred to the son of God, Jesus, as Son of Joseph.
He is still busy today, employing the same attributes. He is in his present role patron of the Church, unborn children, fathers, immigrants, workers, carpenters, realtors. He assists those who are besieged by doubt and hesitation.
He is also the patron for those who desire a happy death (and no wonder, since he had both Jesus and Mary at his bedside as he died).
He is also the patron of Croatia, Korea, and Vietnam, and performs many other roles as well.
A silent man. A steady man. A holy man. Known only by his relationship to others. A son, a husband, a father who performed promptly and obediently as a soldier. One of the first to serve Christ honorably and whole heartedly with all he had.
This was and is Saint Joseph. An obedient and prompt servant. Then and now.