Men, Let Saint Joseph Be Your Model
By The Most Reverend James A. Tamayo, Bishop of the Diocese of Laredo
Today, on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, I have a special message, particularly for men throughout the Diocese of Laredo. Men, allow St. Joseph to be a model in your life. He was declared patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX 150 years ago, and our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has declared 2021 as the Year of St. Joseph.
When Joseph is first introduced in Scripture, it is as the “spouse of Mary.” He is described as a righteous man who, while engaged to Mary, learns that she is pregnant. He intended to divorce her quietly to protect her, but when an angel of the Lord appears to him, he is obedient to God. “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.” (Mt. 1: 20-21) What a privilege it is that Joseph, as the foster father of Jesus, is given the authority to name him. We see the strong character he had, doing as God commanded through the angel, because of his faith—he believed in what our Lord told him. Joseph continually and lovingly stands by Mary’s side, protecting her—throughout her pregnancy and during their life together as husband and wife.
Men who are married, love your spouse as Joseph loved Mary. Respect her, protect her and be faithful to her. Let your children see that love. Let them know the tenderness that a husband should show to his spouse. Show others what it means to honor and respect females by the way you treat your wife.
Brothers and sisters, in this age where psychological, physical and verbal violence is directed toward women, St. Joseph is a figure of respect and sensitivity toward females. He is your model. Men, let this year be a year in which you renew your wedding vows to your spouse and your family. Let them know they can depend on you: you are the protector, you are faithful in loving your wife and your family. In this way, you can honor St. Joseph every day of the year, and your sons, and other young men, will follow your example in their marriage or in their religious life.
Men in consecrated life—priests and permanent deacons—all of us are called to espouse and love with fidelity, with sincere care, Jesus in his body, the Church. Pray for me and for all bishops, priests and permanent deacons, so that we may recognize that we are espoused to you—the Church. We have vowed to live our lives for you—to respect, care and protect the Church: you, our brothers and sisters.
Joseph is also a protector and guide for the child Jesus growing up. He embraced the child given to him by God the Father, though not his biological child. Joseph loved Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, as his own son. He worked as a carpenter, and he taught Jesus how to work in this trade. We read in the Gospel of Luke how Joseph and Mary traveled to Jerusalem each year for the feast of Passover. He provided for his family, but he also observed Jewish laws. He was a man of strong faith, a prayerful man.
Fathers, love your children, and strive to live a virtuous life as Joseph did. Remember your role in the family and in the Church. While working to provide for your family is necessary, it is more important that you are present as a man of faith who loves, cares for and listens to your children. You need to be with your family—not just at home, but at church. How blessed your children will be to say of you, fathers, “I know my dad prays. I see him pray.” If your faith isn’t strong, do not despair. Pray to St. Joseph and ask him to guide you to be a man who prays, believes and leads your family spiritually.
I pray for you men, so that you may be that witness. Our world needs your leadership and your prayers.
Dear St. Joseph, we ask you to watch over and care for the Church, the Body of Christ just as you cared for Jesus during his earthly life.
Saint Joseph is an example for all men.