Friday, March 19, 2010

St Joseph, foster-father of our Lord

We don’t really know much about St Joseph because the Gospels don’t tell us much of the life of Jesus after childhood and before the beginning of his public ministry. We do know that his home town was Bethlehem but by the time of the Annunciation he was living in Nazareth.

We know too that because of the census decreed by Caesar Augustus, St Joseph took his pregnant wife, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to Bethlehem where the Saviour was born and laid in a manger. St Matthew (2:13) tells us that an angel appeared to St Joseph warning him to flee with his family to Egypt which he did in time to avoid Herod’s murder of the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem and surrounding area.

It is clear that after some years in Egypt, the Holy Family travelled back to Nazareth and we can surmise that Jesus was taught the craft of St Joseph the Carpenter. The only other significant mention of St Joseph in the Gospels is the "loss" of Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 years old.

We know nothing of the death of St Joseph but it is safe to assume that he died before Christ began his public life; else it’s inevitable he would have been mentioned again in the Gospels. It’s quite probable he died and was buried in Nazareth.