The first reading contains gems of counsel on how children should treat their parents. “God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.” (Sir 3).


Surely Jesus, as part of the Holy Family took these words to heart and cherished the presence of Mary his mother and Joseph his earthly father.


Much has been written, portrayed and preached about Jesus’ relationship with his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Catholic Church, the study of Mary’s role in the life of Jesus and in the plan of God gave rise to the theology of Mary or Mariology.


This year however is very special. December 8, 2020 – December 8, 2021 has been proclaimed for the whole Church as the “Year of St. Joseph.” It might be good to reflect on how Jesus related to man he called on earth his “dad” and how Mary related to the man he called on earth her “sweetheart.”


For the Holy Family was not an esoteric, mysterious family. This was a real family, of real human beings, with members loving each other as God desired for each family on earth.


St. Joseph was not an accidental husband and father: God needed someone to save Mary from embarrassment so he tricked Joseph into doing it. No! Joseph really loved Mary for they were scheduled to get married long before the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary.


Joseph won Mary’s heart by his sincere love. He worked hard to plan their wedding. He saved for their future. He imagined a family surrounded by healthy and respectful children. He planned to bequeath his trade to his sons.


Of course, all these changed when God’s plan was revealed. Joseph would be a husband and father, not according to his terms, but according to God’s terms. And this is what strikes us most about Joseph. He was obedient, not to the beating of his heart, but to the heart of God. He changed his plans to follow the will of the God he loved and adored.


Was Joseph happy? Yes, he was perhaps the happiest person to live on earth, after the Virgin Mary. He was in the company of a loving wife who was so pure and merciful and kind. He was the one who brought up God’s Son and gave him a name, a home, and a skill in their carpentry shop at Nazareth. He died in their arms, and so he was also happiest at his death.


Fathers are not accidents. Fathers are chosen by God to lead their families. Fathers are blessed by God when they obey his will. Fathers make their families happy when they honor God above all and when they cherish and protect their wives and children with their whole life.


Let us pray for all fathers to be like St Joseph. Let us thank the Lord for our fathers who have been good to us. Let us also pray for our fathers even when they fail in their mission due to their weakness. There can be no families without fathers or father figures. On this feast of the Holy Family, may God bless and guide them all to be like St. Joseph.