Despite our nations frequent cries that we are not a religious country, ask 99% of school children who Joseph is and they will tell you, Jesus’ dad. Joseph is up there with Our Lady and the shepherds as the immediately recognisable characters of the Gospel – yet his appearance in the Gospel is brief to say the least. The Church has recognised this reality and named Joseph the patron saint of ordinary people, the patron saint of you and I. The normal people, the carpenters, the ones who rarely feature in the big news stories… the simple Christians, those that don’t make headlines or suffer martyrdom – yet we gather together and do extraordinary things: we remember these great heroes of our faith; we celebrate sacraments ordained 2000 years ago, which look forward to the end and fulfilment of the world; and we try and live good lives in the name of a man who we’ve never met and know quite little about. And this is the wonderful thing about our faith, and about Joseph who we celebrate today – he shows us what God can do with the raw materials of our ordinary humanity.
The Christian life is a little like an orchestra – we have all given up playing our own discordant tunes and have come together to be conducted by Christ, our strength and our song. When you watch an orchestra, there are people that immediately stand out more than others – the conductor and his elaborate gestures, the violins and their central position, but, in the main, we struggle to pick out every instrument – and that’s the way it should be! Each individual effort is taken up into the beauty of the whole. For St. Joseph, his solo ended after the first few years of Christ’s life, but we can be certain he continued to do Christ’s work, and continues to play his part in that eternal orchestra.
So we pray that God will ever more take from us our fallen will, and give each one of us grace to take up our instrument and join the orchestra, whose conductor is the redeemer of the world and whose song is love unknown! Let us learn to recognise the distinctive gift and calling which God has given every single one of us, and learn to live and work to the praise and glory of God.
St. Joseph protector of Christ, pray for us.
St. Joseph most obedient and faithful father, pray for us.
St Joseph patron of the ordinary, pray for us.