Padre Paul's Ponderings: Saint Joseph: Works Speaking Louder than Actions

Padre Paul's Ponderings: Saint Joseph: Works Speaking Louder than Actions

One of the most well-known saints in our Church is the man whom our parish is named

after, Saint Joseph. Tomorrow on Monday, March 20th, we honor his feast day. Or one

of his feast days I should say – the other being the feast of Saint Joseph the worker

which comes up on May 1st.

When I think of Joseph, the description of George Harrison comes to mind. George was

called “the quiet Beatle” and was a great guitarist and musician, but was kind of not as

much on the tip of the tongue as Paul or John. But he was of course just as much an

important part of the group.

The same can be said for Joseph. He literally is the quiet member of the Holy Family.

He doesn’t say a word in Scripture. And for all the churches, towns, shrines and other

things named after him, you might think we’d have an extensive biography of his life.

But he left behind no writings. Scripture simply calls him a “just man.” He presumably

provided for Mary and Jesus as a carpenter, and at some point before Jesus begins his

public ministry, he dies. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton to learn from Joseph.

For one, there’s trust. In the Gospel for tomorrow, it’s taken from Matthew 1, when the

angel appears to Joseph after Joseph has found out Mary is expecting, and he isn’t the

father. Joseph has a plan to leave Mary, but the angel says do not be afraid, God has a

plan. Joseph could think about his image, or his plans. But instead, he does what Mary

does, and he trusts both God and Mary. Sometimes our ego and pride can get in the

way, but it’s worth asking ourselves if we can trust God through challenging times, or

turn to Him for help.

Second, in Saint Joseph, we see the value of work. Saint Joseph has another feast day,

May 1st, Saint Joseph the Worker. It’s intentionally put on that day to put the attention

on the dignity of work, not the Communist version when May Day was so popular in the

Communist states. Work has dignity and through it, we make ourselves better, make the

world better and provide for our families. People might not notice all that we do, but by

learning from the example of Saint Joseph we can be reminded that our work is


Third, selflessness. Not too long ago I have a short welcome for a retreat, and I began

by mentioning some names: Jamal Crawford and J.R. Smith, as I was curious if people

would know who these guys were. I’m a big NBA fan, so see their names in box scores

quite a bit. These are a couple of the recent winners of the “Sixth Man” award. They

aren’t household names like Michael Jordan or Kevin Durant, but they are big parts of

their team and they contribute. An “unselfish” athlete is the kind of player who doesn’t

mind if they don’t fill the stat sheet, but look for other ways to contribute. In a society

that puts so much on people being seen and noticed, are we OK quietly contributing to

our parish and our family without doing so for recognition other than knowing that God

sees what we do and that it makes a difference?

Finally, presence. Joseph didn’t do much talking in the Scriptures, but we know that he

was there. Think of Joseph in your Nativity Set under the tree, looking tenderly on Mary

and Jesus. He lived his life by always being there for his family, by providing for them,

leading them into Egypt when they had to flee and being there day in and day out. How

can we be present to our families and friends? How can we give that all important gift of

time to those who need us? Our presence and being active in the lives of people can do

so much.

No, Saint Joseph might not say much at all in the Bible, but from him we can learn so

much about how to live a life of virtue that impacts others. Like Saint Joseph, may we

be OK living out of the limelight, realizing that it’s OK not to be seen and noticed for our

actions, because God sees the good things we do and they also leave such a lasting

impact in the world and the lives of others.

Have a blessed week,

Fr. Paul


Book of the Week: Sometimes I’m Afraid by Michaelene Mundy. For the school Mass

on March 9th, the reading was of Queen Esther, who was facing death with the Israelite

people. In her anguish, she turned to God and God came through bringing justice to the

man who had told the king to kill the Israelite people, Haman. This book gives examples

of how we can deal with fear and turn to God as well. It has a Catholic context too,

published by Abbey Press, owned by Saint Meinrad Archabbey out of Indiana.

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