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Joseph, legal father of Jesus


Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24apsalm

Jacob became the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.


He did as the angel of the lord had commanded him. In Jewish custom, betrothal makes a man and a woman legally married though they have not yet lived together. It is at this time that Mary is “found with child through the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew presents Joseph as a righteous man, who, unwilling to expose Mary to shame, decides to divorce her quietly. But he receives a message from the angel of the Lord in a dream: he has to take Mary as his wife. And Joseph does as the angel of the Lord has commanded.

In the gospels (Mt 1–2 and Lk 1–2), Joseph utters not a single word yet he actively carries out the Lord’s command. He is true to his role as the legal father of Jesus: he provides for Mary and Jesus and protects them.

Two feasts in the liturgical calendar celebrate Joseph: as the husband of Mary (March 19) and as the worker (May 1). He is also the patron saint of all contemplative nuns.

May all husbands be like Joseph who was faithful to his vocation and mission as husband and father.

Source: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” St. Pauls Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail:; Website:

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  • Sonny Jao

    The Roman Catholic Church venerates St.Joseph as the spouse of the Blessed Mother and the foster-father of Jesus our Lord.