Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Primary Educator

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Joseph. Jesus's earthly father, St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, carpenters, the Universal Church and social justice. St. Joseph appears in Sacred Scripture in just a few places. Two stand out: when the angel appears to Joseph to instruct him to take Mary as his wife, and when Joseph and Mary find Jesus preaching in the temple. He never utters a word in scripture. He obediently follows God's plan for his life. God entrusts him with Jesus and Mary, the Heavenly Father's most precious creations.

Joseph's blood line extends back to David and even to Abraham. In this way, St. Joseph represents Jesus's royally divine lineage.  St. Matthew, in composing his Gospel, describes St. Joseph as a righteous man meaning that he acted in moral, just and virtuous ways.

If God used Mary as the vessel to bring Jesus into the world, He used St. Joseph as 1/2 of the team of educators to bring Jesus up in the world. Joseph's wife was born without original sin. His earthly Son was similarly born. While afflicted with the same sickness as every other human, St. Joseph must have been impressive in many and various ways.

He must have been strong. Surely, as all young boys do, Jesus looked up to Joseph and desired to emulate him. St. Joseph must have modeled the strength in conviction, belief, duty and loyalty that Jesus would embody in the form of blood. St. Joseph must have had to shield Jesus and Mary from the publicity of such a unique birth and the shame and attention surrounding his unique marriage to Mary. St. Joseph must have, if he was worthy of being called "father" by Jesus, been a pretty-darn-near perfect man.

As a father myself, I pray for his strength, guidance, wisdom and protection to lead my family. As the leader of a Catholic school, I pray to St. Joseph for these same attributes to lead my school family as well. I pray that like St. Joseph I may one day be called a righteous man and that I, too, may be able to obediently follow God's will for my life, no matter where that may take me.

St. Joseph was one of Jesus's primary educators. May St. Joseph be one of mine - when it comes to fatherhood, principalship, leadership, manhood, marriage, brotherhood - as well.

St. Joseph, pray for us. Pray for me. Pray for fathers everywhere.