The narrative of Saint Joseph, Mary’s husband and Jesus’ earthly guardian, unfolds through Scripture. A carpenter by trade, as evident when Nazarenes questioned, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55), Joseph’s financial status was modest. His offering of two turtledoves or pigeons for the purification rites (Luke 2:24) was a concession for those unable to afford a lamb, indicating limited means.

Despite this, Joseph hailed from noble ancestry. Although Luke and Matthew’s accounts of his genealogy slightly diverge, both confirm his lineage from David, Israel’s esteemed king (Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38). This royal connection is underscored by the angel addressing him as “son of David,” a title bestowed upon Jesus as well.

Joseph’s character was marked by compassion and integrity. Confronted with Mary’s pregnancy before their union, he intended to discreetly end their betrothal to spare her potential disgrace and harm, mindful of the harsh penalties for adultery (Matthew 1:19-25).

His actions demonstrate profound faith and obedience. Upon learning from an angel of Mary’s divine pregnancy, Joseph unhesitatingly accepted her as his wife, disregarding societal judgment. Similarly, he did not hesitate to flee to Egypt to safeguard his family from threats, returning only when divine guidance assured their safety (Matthew 2:13-23).

Joseph’s love for Jesus was evident. He protected the child at great personal cost and treated him as his own, evidenced by Nazareth’s recognition of Jesus as “the son of Joseph” (Luke 4:22). His devotion extended to religious observance, ensuring the family’s annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover, a challenging feat for a laborer.

Joseph’s absence from the accounts of Jesus’ public ministry, death, and resurrection leads scholars to surmise he had passed away before these events.

Venerated as the patron of the dying, fathers, carpenters, and social justice, Joseph’s life exemplifies humility, faithfulness, and the importance of family and duty. His legacy is celebrated on March 19, acknowledging his role as Mary’s husband, and on May 1, honoring his contributions as a worker.

Editorial credit: Renata Sedmakova /

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