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Protector of Family

St. Joseph

By Clyde Ericson Nolasco

What we know about St. Joseph is based on Scriptures. He can be found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. (The Gospel of Mark did not mention anything about St. Joseph, while John, though he mentioned that Jesus had an earthly father, only focused on Jesus’ human origin.)

Let’s try to masticate the limited artifacts we have to get to know more about St. Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father.

Here are 15 things we know about St. Joseph based on the Scriptures:

1. He was a carpenter.

He is a carpenter or a “tekton” in Greek. In Matthew 13:55, it says: Isn't he the carpenter's son? Tekton can also mean a “craftsman.”

2. He was of humble means

He was not rich. Because of this, instead of offering a lamb, he could only afford two turtledoves when he took Jesus to be circumcised and Mary to be purified at the temple.

3. He was of kingly lineage, a descendant of King David.

In Matthew, Joseph's lineage is traced back to King David. Despite his humble work and means, he comes from the line of David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38).

4. He was a compassionate man.

Women, during that time, when found pregnant without a husband would be punished by stoning to death. Upon hearing Mary’s pregnancy and in spite of confusion because he knew it was not his child, he didn't expose Mary outright. Instead, he quietly protected her.

5. The Angel of the Lord also appeared to him.

He also had his versions of the Annunciation but these happened in his dreams. In the times of confusion, the angel of the Lord would appear to him.

In Matthew 1:18-24, an angel appeared in his dream to tell him that the baby Mary was carrying was God’s and he must not be afraid to take her as his wife.

In Matthew 2:13-23, a second "Annunciation" to him was mentioned: an angel of the Lord visited Him in a dream, warning him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod and Herod's evil plan to kill babies.

6. He treated Jesus as his own son.

Joseph took care of Jesus as his own son. After their flight to Egypt and then after being informed by the angel that Herod was dead, he took his wife Mary and Jesus back to Israel but stayed in Nazareth.

7. He was a faithful servant of the Lord.

He was faithful and obedient to the laws of God. He respected God’s interventions in his life. He followed the instructions God would give him, especially when it was about Mary and Jesus.

8. It is not stated in the Scriptures when and how he died

In the latter part of the life of Jesus, during his ministry and even in his passion, we would not find Joseph in the story. Many historians would say that he already died even before Jesus started his public ministry. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Apocryphal Date for Joseph's birth is 90 BC in Bethlehem and the Apocryphal Date of his death is July 20, AD 18 in Nazareth.

10. There are many depictions of Joseph

In art, he is usually portrayed as an old fragile man with balding grey hair. Statues and images sometimes depict him carrying a staff with a budding lily to symbolize his purity and his celibate marriage to Mary. Other art depict him as holding a carpenter’s tools. A popular image is one of him carrying the infant Jesus.