Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook


Father Muench Says...

Remembering St. Joseph this Advent

Dec. 18, 2019

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

When I think of the saints of Advent, I always mention St. John the Baptist, as I did last week. The other Advent saint that I like to remember is St. Joseph. I think of St. Joseph today because on Wednesdays each week, I celebrate Mass with the Sisters of St. Joseph at the Motherhouse here in Watertown. My Mass is with the retired Sisters who live here at the Motherhouse. It is truly a special moment for me – a time of real prayer with the Sisters who spend so much time in prayer during these days in their lives. And, of course, it reminds me of St. Joseph.

So, today, let us take a few moments to remember St. Joseph. We do not learn too much about St. Joseph.

However, he has a special place in the Infancy Narrative in St. Matthew’s and St. Luke’s Gospels. The question that is brought up often is whether St. Joseph was the same age as Mary or was much older. We do not learn the answer from the Gospels. So, I like to consider this myself. Some would say that the tradition in those days was for an older man to marry a younger woman. However, personally, I like to think that Joseph was about the same age or a bit older. When I think of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem for the census, I like to picture two young people in the early stages of their married life. There are many of these little questions that I am saving to ask them if and when I meet them in heaven.

In the First Chapter of St. Matthew, we read of the huge challenge that comes up for St. Joseph when he learns that, before they lived together, Mary was discovered to be pregnant. The Gospel story tells us that Joseph decided that he would quietly divorce her. He did not want to “expose her to shame.” Obviously, it was a rather difficult moment for this young man, not to mention how difficult it was for Mary also. The Gospel story tells us that an angel came to Joseph in a dream: “Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” Our faith tells us that Joseph accepted Mary and was true to her in marriage. However, humanly speaking, I am certain it was still a rather challenging moment for Joseph.

I am certain that you remember that later, while in Bethlehem, Joseph would be told in a dream again not to return to Galilee but to go for a time to Egypt because of a threat from King Herod. Joseph was certainly challenged by God with these dreams, and yet he proved to be trusting in God and filled with faith.

We recognize in Joseph a strong and protective spirit for Mary in the Bethlehem story. First of all, travel in those days was not easy, and Mary was pregnant, yet Joseph was an ever-loving and caring husband. Some of the details are mentioned very simply, yet we can be certain that it wasn’t all that simple. They couldn’t find a place to stay and finally were given shelter in a stable. Each time I see our parish crèche that the Knights of Columbus construct on the church lawn, I am a bit anxious – couldn’t there be somewhere in town for them to stay. I want to invite them over to my house across the street.

I am certain that Joseph was rather busy when the child Jesus was born. He was so caring and protective that he didn’t hesitate to do all he could to make everything comfortable for Jesus and Mary. So, we celebrate St. Joseph and pray to St. Joseph and seek St. Joseph’s care and protection as we remember St. Joseph protecting our Savior, Jesus, and his mother, Mary.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.