St. Joseph: Man of Action

by Archbishop Donald Wuerl

The first chapter of Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer: On the Person and Mission of St. Joseph in the Life of Christ and the Church ) underscores Joseph’s marriage to Mary. This is the foundation of his role in salvation history. Joseph, a son of David, was asked by God to take Mary as his wife. She was to bear a son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, whom he was to call Jesus (Mt 1:20-21).

John Paul II points out that the divine messenger "introduces Joseph to the mystery of Mary’s motherhood” (3), but Joseph was to have a singular role in the unfolding of the mystery of our redemption. He would join Mary in being the “first guardian of this divine mystery” (5).

Together with Mary and in relation to her he is intimately involved in this final stage of God’s revelation that takes place in Christ.

To accept all of this Joseph, like Mary, had to be a person of faith. What strikes us when we look at the pages of Scripture and see the figure of Joseph — even if he is sketched somewhat faintly against all the other dominant figures — is his great faith.

Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., has written numerous books of the Catholic faith. This article was excerpted from the June 2002 issue of Columbia, the monthly magazine of the Knights of Columbus.

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