As we are journeying in Lent, in this month of March we also commemorate a special day on March 19 for Saint Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. In the infancy narrative, Matthew’s Gospel tells us that St. Joseph was a righteous man (Mt 1:19).
Saint Joseph, the righteous man is indicated by the way in which he is unwilling to expose Mary his wife to public shame, and intends to divorce her quietly. Why? Being a righteous man, that is a strict observer of the law, he would not proceed to marry her, but he intended to put her away quietly because he did not wish to punish her nor to betray her. As the just man, he could take the advantage of the law against her if she was found guilty, but he takes the matter in moderation and tenderness towards his wife. Rather by such intentions, he shows his tender heart toward her since this matter is unknown.
Such intentions are attributed to the nature of this righteous man in dealing with his wife. But the true righteousness of St. Joseph is his humble obedience to God’s command. He submits to divine authority through the words of the messenger of the Lord who appeared to him in a dream: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home... When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home” (Mt 1:20, 24).
Saint Joseph obeys God’s will with faith, for the righteous live by faith. When the angel announced to him in the dream that Mary conceived the child in her womb by the Holy Spirit, Joseph did not ask the angel any questions. He was quiet. None of his voice was heard even in the whole Gospel, because he trusts in God’s power absolutely; because he believes the Child, who was conceived in the womb of Mary not by human seed but by the Holy Spirit, is the Son of God, and the angel whispers into his ears in the dream, “you shall name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). The righteous man knows how to make room for faith and conforms himself to the will of God.
O Tender heart of Saint Joseph intercede for us!