St. Joseph is one of the most often forgotten members of the Holy Family. Part of this is due to his silence throughout the Gospels: he never says a word and simply disappears before Jesus’ ministry begins. Much like Joseph’s forgotten presence in the Holy Family, we often forget about the power of intercessory prayer; we can ask the Saints to pray for us and help us in our time of need. One of the great examples of the power of the intercession of the saints comes from St. Joseph. In the 1600’s a great famine struck the island of Sicily. During such a great plight, they turned to St. Joseph, their principal patron, who sent them the fava bean. Thus the Sicilians were saved from the famine.
This story connects strongly with the readings associated with the Solemnity of St. Joseph. From the first reading from the 2nd Book of Samuel through the announcement by the angel to St. Joseph of Jesus’ birth, the entire day centers on fatherhood. On a basic level St. Joseph is the foster-father of Jesus. Therefore it makes sense to focus on fatherhood. Think for a moment about St. Joseph’s role in the household. He is the protector of Jesus; God needed a protector. He is the provider for the family ensuring that their needs are met. He is responsible for the care of his wife and foster-son. He watches over them and the world as their guide. These qualities of fatherhood help us to understand God as our Father.
The 2nd Book of Samuel emphasizes the role of God as our Father. From his first interaction with Abraham, of whom he made a people and nation, he gave them covenants. Covenants are pacts or agreements but God’s covenants were something more. He promised to be their God, to care for and protect them, to provide for their needs, and to be their father. He did not want to be a god who is worship, adored, and feared, he wanted to be the father of his people: “to bind them with bands of love… to teach them to walk… to take them to himself and feed them” (Hosea 11). During our times of hardship we need to recognize God as our father and protector. We need to turn to him in our needs and open ourselves to the way in which he will guide, strengthen, help, and protect us.
St.Joseph patron against plagues, pray for us.