By: Father Boby John, C.S.C. on March 20th, 2023
More Action Than Words - Family Reflection Video
Holy lives of inspiration | Seasonal Reflections
The blood of hundreds of saints has been painted in royal red to commemorate their martyrdom. Other saints painted in shining gold were brilliant miracle workers, eloquent preachers, or attractive missionaries.
Hundreds of saints are pictured with pen, scroll, ruler, or book because they were great teachers, scientists, or founded schools, monasteries, or hospitals. Many saints were authors of great books that are still read by thousands today.
Other saints are also painted in bright colors because they were great leaders: kings, queens, emperors, knights in shining armor, even generals of armies like Joan of Arc, or brightly robed bishops, popes, and abbots.
When you look at the choirs of saints in heaven, you are dazzled by all the color, all the talent, and all the most incredible human and holy accomplishments.
Then we come to today's Saint. What dazzling colors do we find for him? No red of martyrs, no gold of world leaders, no pulpit of great preachers, no scroll of great authors. No - just a small workshop, a little hut with a battered shingle over the door that says: "Joseph and Son, Carpenters."
But then, which of all the saints in heaven will have the last laugh when those great millions start telling stories of their earthly accomplishments?
Isn't it St. Joseph, the carpenter? Which of the other saints, except the Blessed Mother Mary, can say,
"Every day for almost thirty years, I sat at the table with the growing boy who was the Son of God. Daily I watched Him develop into manhood; I taught Him His prayers: I showed Him how to make chairs and tables. I couldn't count the times I held Him in my arms when He was tiny; the times He hugged me and kissed me; the meals we ate, the miles we travelled, and the joy we had in working together.”
Although we don’t know much about Joseph, we do know that his father’s name was Jacob, he was a carpenter and he lived in Nazareth. He was the husband of Mary. Upon discovering that Mary was pregnant after his engagement, he decided to divorce her quietly rather than embarrass or cause scandal.
There is no mention in the Gospels of Joseph saying anything. He never does. God spoke to him in dreams, and he followed them. But he’s a man of action: he does what the angel tells him; he takes Mary as his wife; he goes to Bethlehem; he finds a place to stay for the night; he takes his family to Egypt ... He’s a man of action, not a man of words.
I worked as a pastor in the Archdiocese of Shillong, where priests, both diocesan and religious priests, held a day of prayer every first Tuesday of the month. It culminated with a prayer to St. Joseph for a happy death, and at the end of the prayer we would say an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and Glory Be, for one among us priests gathered there who will be the first to die. I found it a bit strange at first, but I found it so profound when I grasped the meaning.
St. Joseph is the patron saint of a happy death. He is the patron saint of the dying for three reasons: First, he is our Eternal Judge's foster father. Second, he is the terror of demons and the conqueror of hell. And third, the most beautiful, his was the most beautiful of deaths because he died in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
We learn two life lessons on this Solemnity of St. Joseph.
- Firstly, be like Joseph, who served God quietly and sincerely. Let us work without any fanfare, devoid of any publicity and without any pictorials. Let us accept and fulfil our responsibilities to God without striving for awards and rewards, without aspiring for commissions and commendations, away from limelight and praises.
- Second, be prudent like Joseph. Our judgment and actions should not cast doubt on others' names and reputations. Let's not undermine their character and credibility with our words. As Joseph, let us protect and promote the good and life of those we love and those entrusted to us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
- Today’s readings on this Solemnity of St. Joseph
- Father Boby's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
- To view Rosary prayer and Mass streaming live, please visit our Facebook page at 11:30 am EST, Monday – Friday. Please invite your loved ones to join us too! (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
About Father Boby John, C.S.C.
Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.