Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24

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

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.” When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do.

In June, there is a day that is reserved for honouring fathers. In May, there is a day that is reserved for honouring mothers. But before one can be a good father and a good mother, one must first be a good husband and a good wife.

Today, we honour St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Joseph holds a special role in the Catholic Church as the husband of Mary. In so doing, the Church honours all husbands and reminds all husbands of their important role.

The bond between husband and wife is a reminder to all people of the bond between Christ and his Church. Just as Christ laid down his life for his bride, the Church, so too is a husband called to lay down his life for his wife. It is one thing to die for another, and quite another to lay down one’s life for another.

The greatest gift that a husband can give to his wife is the gift of himself. A gift that is freely given, not coerced by circumstances. A gift that is total, not partial. A gift of fidelity, not unfaithful. A gift that is life-giving, not dead.

St. Joseph gave this very gift to his bride Mary. It is extremely important for us to realise that Joseph could have just walked away from this marriage as he originally intended to do so. Because he was free to walk away from it, he was also free to go through it. His ‘yes’ means a lot because he could have said ‘no’ with no consequences.

Husbands, are you loving your wives freely, giving yourselves totally and faithfully to her in a life-giving way? Wives, are you cherishing your husbands and letting them know how much you love them? If you want to be a good father, focus on being a good husband. If you want to be a good mother, focus on being a good wife.

St. Joseph, most chaste spouse of the blessed Virgin Mary, we ask you today to entrust all husbands into your care. Teach them to love their wives, as you loved Mary. Teach them to bring up their children well in obedience and faith, as you brought up Jesus. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Giving St. Joseph to us as a model of all husbands.

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