Pope Francis has dedicated this year to St. Joseph and so he has proclaimed it as the “Year of St. Joseph” with his Apostolic Letter Patris Corde (translated as “with the heart of the father”). You may ask why or what is the special reason for the Pope to declare so. The reason is that this year is the 150th anniversary of the Proclamation of St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX. In order that we may reflect on the important virtues of St. Joseph, the great provider and protector of the Holy Family, Pope Francis has proclaimed “the Year of St. Joseph”.
St. Joseph loved Jesus with a father’s heart, and so the Gospels refer as the Son of Joseph. In the Gospels according to St. Matthew and Luke, we can read briefly what kind of father, St. Joseph was and what was his Mission entrusted to him by God. He was a poor carpenter (cf. Mathew 13:55), betrothed to Mary (cf. Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:27). He was also a just man (cf. Matthew 1:19) ever ready to carry out the Will of God (Luke cf. 2:22, 27, 39).
He was very faithful and obedient to fulfill, what God revealed to him through dreams (cf. Matthew 1:20; 2:13, 19, 22). Joseph was given the privilege to become the legal father of Jesus, to whom he gave the name revealed by the angel: “You shall call his name Jesus” (Matthew 1:21). In the ancient Biblical society, the one who named a person or a thing gained legal authority over that person or that thing. We can read this from the Book of Genesis, how Adam named the woman and all the created things (cr.2:19-20) and thus gained his authority over the created beings.
Pope St. John Paul II, in his Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos (translated as “Guardian of the Redeemer) on the Person and Mission of St. Joseph, makes it known to us that our families have a lot to learn from Joseph and Mary. The Pope says that St. Joseph was called to serve the person and mission of Jesus directly through the exercise of his fatherhood. He reiterates that Jesus grew most of his life on earth (30 years of his life) by experiencing the love, which was communicated and shared in the holy family. Hence, the Pope states that every family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate this love with one another.
To be continued
God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.