Monday, December 20, 2010

The Righteous Joseph: An Unsung Hero

When we speak of the Nativity of our Lord, we often find ourselves concentrating on the role the Virgin Mary played in this story of mankind's salvation. In doing so, we are sometimes guilty of not recognizing the importance of the Righteous Joseph in this mysterious and miraculous event.
What do we know about Joseph? The Gospels tell us that he was of the lineage of King David, which explains the necessity of his journey to Bethlehem for the census ordered by the Emperor Augustus Caesar. Church Tradition tells us that Joseph was quite advanced in age when he was betrothed to the Theotokos - a mere teenager at the time. It is also our tradition that Joseph was a widower with children from his previous marriage, thus explaining the scriptural references to the brothers and sisters of Jesus. When Joseph discovered that Mary was with child he could have, according to Jewish law, had her stoned to death for her "sin" of adultery. God, however, revealed His divine plan to Joseph in a dream, telling him: "Do not be afraid to take to you Mary for your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." (Matt 1:20) From that moment, Joseph devoted his life to protecting the Virgin and her yet-to-be born Son. After Christ's birth in Bethlehem, Joseph safely delivered them from the wrath of King Herod, taking them first to Egypt and ultimately settling in Nazareth. We know from the Gospel of St. Luke that Joseph was still alive when Christ was taken to Jerusalem when He was 12 years old. It is believed that he died soon after this, never being part of Christ's earthly ministry. The fact that Jesus commended His Blessed Mother to the care of the Apostle John as He hung on the Cross underscores this.
Orthodox Weekly Bulletin ...... Vestal, Cliffwood, New Jersey ...... Litho in U.S.A.

No comments:

Post a Comment