“Did you not know I had to be in My Father’s house?” —Luke 2:49
From a purely human viewpoint, it would appear that St. Joseph was a “surrogate” father to Jesus. When Jesus was twelve, Joseph received a blunt reminder from his Foster-Son that Jesus’ real Father was God the Father, not Joseph (Lk 2:49).
From a purely human viewpoint, it would appear that St. Joseph was a “surrogate” husband to Mary. Her Son Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Mary’s true Spouse (Lk 1:35). Joseph’s celibate relationship with Mary would have been ongoing evidence that Mary belonged to the Holy Spirit rather than himself.
Joseph could have been tempted to feel like a “second fiddle” as a father and husband. Yet God did not regard Joseph as a surrogate father and husband. From all the men ever created, God chose St. Joseph for the critical role of protector and guardian of the Holy Family. Mary didn’t consider Joseph as second-rate. She instantly obeyed his lead on multiple occasions. It was Joseph whom God warned to flee to Egypt and then return to Nazareth from Egypt. When Jesus was found in the Temple, Mary used the words “Your father and I….”, showing that she regarded Joseph as the father of the Holy Family (Lk 2:48). Jesus returned from the Temple and obeyed Joseph (Lk 2:51).
Mary, Jesus, and God the Father all placed the highest trust in Joseph, and Joseph succeeded. This is no surrogate, second-fiddle father and husband. The plan of salvation succeeded in large part because of Joseph’s instant obedience, complete trust, and extraordinary humility. May each of us imitate St. Joseph daily.
PRAYER: Father, may I decrease so that Jesus may increase (see Jn 3:30).
PROMISE: “All depends on faith, everything is grace.” –Rm 4:16
PRAISE: “Observe, my son, your father’s bidding, and reject not your mother’s teaching” (Prv 6:20). St. Joseph, pray for us!