His sorrow when he was afraid to return to his homeland;
his joy on being told by the angel to go to Nazareth.
O glorious Saint Joseph,
you marveled to see the King of heaven
obedient to your commands.
Your consolation in bringing Jesus
out of the land of Egypt
was troubled by your fear of Archelaus.
Nevertheless, being assured by an angel,
you lived in gladness at Nazareth
with Jesus and Mary.
By this sorrow and this joy,
obtain for us that our hearts
may be delivered from harmful fears,
so that we may rejoice in peace of conscience
and may live with Jesus and Mary,
and, like you, may die in their company.
Reading Mt 2:19-23; Lk 2:40
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judaea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."
And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
"Work was the daily expression of love in the life of the Family of Nazareth. The Gospel specifies the kind of work Joseph did in order to support his family: he was a carpenter. This simple word sums up Joseph's entire life. For Jesus, these were hidden years, the years to which Luke refers after recounting the episode that occurred in the Temple: ‘And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them' (Lk 2:51). This ‘submission' or obedience of Jesus in the house of Nazareth should be understood as a sharing in the work of Joseph. Having learned the work of his presumed father, he was known as ‘the carpenter's son.' If the Family of Nazareth is an example and model for human families, in the order of salvation and holiness, so, too, by analogy, is Jesus' work at the side of Joseph the carpenter. In our own day, the Church has emphasized this by instituting the liturgical memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. Human work, and especially manual labor, receives special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work, too, has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption."14
"In the human growth of Jesus ‘in wisdom, age and grace,' the virtue of industriousness played a notable role, since ‘work is a human good,' which ‘transforms nature' and makes man ‘in a sense, more human.'"15
"What is crucially important here is the sanctification of daily life, a sanctification that each person must acquire according to his or her own state, and one which can be promoted according to a model accessible to all people: ‘St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies; . . . he is the proof that, in order to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of great things-it is enough to have the common, simple and human virtues, but they must be true and authentic.'"16
Here the Litany of St. Joseph (p. 543 f.) may be prayed, as a conclusion. Or the following prayer may be said.
V. Pray for us, blessed Joseph,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
in your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
14. GR, 22.
15. GR, 23.
16. GR, 24.