Feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lk 2: 41-51a

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey.

Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them.Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

St. Joseph, pray for me!

“Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you!” Anxiety must have been a constant factor in the life of Joseph, all because of his son Jesus. Even before his marriage to Mary, when it became clear that she was pregnant, an angel had to assure him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife! And then there was the night of the child’s birth when there simply was no room for them at the Inn. Not long afterward he had to take Jesus to Egypt so Herod wouldn’t find and kill him. And now the boy was beginning to do and say things he and Mary simply did not, could not, understand. Of course the two of them were anxious!

Anxiety: I experience it myself in many ways. Life in a world like ours has a lot of sharp edges. When I feel myself afraid, when I don’t know just what I ought to do, and wonder if I can continue to cope with complexity – Lord, help me with the example of Joseph!

Compared to his, my life is a piece of cake: he was just an ordinary man, a working man without much sophistication – but he was given the task of safeguarding the two most important people in humankind’s history! Joseph, stand by me in my small anxieties, bolster me up when I don’t see the way ahead of me clearly, when I can’t decide just what I ought to do. Help me trust in the God who saw you safely through life. This Lent, put in a good word for me with God’s Son, who was your son too.

St. Joseph, pray for me !

—Fr. John J. O’Callaghan, S.J. is senior chaplain  for the health sciences division at Loyola  University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood IL


When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he, He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee.

And one day as they went walking, all in the garden green, There were berries and cherries as thick as may be seen.

Then Mary said to Joseph, so meek and so mild, “Joseph, gather me some cherries for I am with child.”

The Joseph flew in anger, in anger flew he:”Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee.”

Then up spoke baby Jesus, from out Mary’s womb, “Bow down ye tallest tree that my mother might have some.”

So bent down the tallest tree to touch Mary’s hand. Said she, “Oh look now Joseph, I have cherries at command.”

When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he, He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee.

—Traditional Appalachian folk carol