Joseph and Mary were from Nazareth. Nazareth, it means: “Village of the shoot”. Why is that name important? Joseph was of David’s line, the town of Nazareth was settled out of nothing about 100 years before the birth of our Lord. The founders of the village were returning Davidic exiles. They knew the prophecy of Jerimiah which said the Messiah would come after “70 weeks of years” or 7 x 70 = 490 years. The time was right, the lineage was still established. They were moving back to the Promised Land. They knew someone from the Davidic line would be the Messiah and the time seemed correct. Why name the village Nazareth?
Isaiah Chapter 11 The Ideal Davidic King
1 But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. 2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, 3 and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, 4 But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. 5 Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Joseph, as you well know, is silent in the Bible. Not one word is attributed to him in the Gospels or elsewhere. How can we know so much about him? How can there be so much to study about him, so much to emulate? First, he was visited by an angel 4 times and perfectly and immediately obeyed the angel each time, and to necessary and great effect. It interesting that scripture never mentions that Joseph was afraid of the angelic visitors. Look elsewhere in scripture, in most cases, a human who is visited by an angel is in abject terror. Not Joseph.
Joseph is the earthly father of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet little is said of him and nothing is said by him in scripture. However, there was an earthly king who was the fascination of his time. Titled “The Great” while he was still living; Herod was a favorite study of historians and contemporary commentators in the time of St. Joseph’s life. Herod was bigger than life, a great architect. a skilled warrior, a handsome and charismatic politician, a world class builder, an economic powerhouse, a murderous tyrant, paranoid, insane and a despot. Much is written about Herod the Great, his time, the country he ruled over, the economy, the building projects, the cities he was establishing. There are even details on how well he treated his masons and carpenters. Much can be learned about St. Joseph from the life and times of Herod the Great. For more on this approach to understanding St. Joseph, see: St. Joseph and His World by Mike Aquilina, Sceptor Publishers, 2020 ISBN 978-1-59417-393-6.
A Favorite St. Joseph Prayer:
Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so prompt, so strong, before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me and Ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, Patron of departed souls - pray for me. Amen.