Take a moment on this Feast of the Holy Family to consider what it would have been like to be Mary's husband.
As a man, I try to imagine having to confront what Joseph confronted as Mary’s husband. It makes me a bit sick to my stomach imagining myself in his sandals.
Here are five moments I like to consider:
- He was forced to put her on the back of a donkey and take her 80 miles over rocky, dirt roads to Bethlehem for the census. She was almost full term and the trip would have probably taken three to five days. Then, upon arrival, his wife goes into labor. There were no ERs, no cell phones, no 911 calls, no paramedics…you are on your own, end of story.
- He was in a strange town without friends and could find no shelter. He was forced to bring her to a dirty, smelly stable that is an animal shelter. Here she had to give birth to her child who is the Son of God. As a man, he must have felt so inadequate, so un-manly. His heart must have been breaking.
- The miracle of the Virgin Birth takes place and mother and child are fine. But then Joseph discovers that King Herod wants to kill his baby boy. Guys, think about it. You have made it this far and now you learn the army has been ordered to find your child and kill him. They are out in force searching for you and your family.
- Somehow, someway, with his resolve of faith and trust in God propelling him forward, he made it to Egypt and saved his family. Egypt was 300 miles away but he got them there safe and sound. He saved not only the Redeemer and probably the Blessed Mother from death, he made it possible for all of us to be saved too.
- One final thought about this incredible person: Joseph of Nazareth was the only man who ever lived who could point to the Son of God and say, “That’s MY boy.” Imagine that.
St. Joseph, thank you and please pray for all of us.