Monday, February 14, 2011

SAN JOSE: Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saint Joseph is an important figure in Christian belief as the husband of the Virgin Mary and the earthly father of Jesus Christ (in distinction to God, his "heavenly father").

The earliest Christian records, the epistles of Paul, make no reference to Jesus's father, and nor does Mark, the first of the Gospels.The first appearance of Joseph is therefore in the the gospels of Matthew and Luke, both of which have a genealogy that traces Joseph's lineageback to King David. The two lists are contradictory: Matthew says that Joseph's father was called Jacob,[Mt. 1:16]but Luke says he was the son of Heli.[Lk. 3:23]Matthew and Luke are also the only Gospels to include the Infancy Narratives, the stories of Jesus' birth and infancy. In Luke, Joseph lives in Nazareth, travels to Bethlehem in compliance with the requirements of a non-historical Roman census. Subsequently, Jesus was born there. In Matthew, Joseph was in Bethlehem, the city of David, where Jesus is born, and then moves to Nazareth with his family after the death of Herod. Matthew is the only Gospel to include the narrative of the Massacre of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt: following the Nativity, Joseph stays in Bethlehem for an unspecified period (perhaps two years) until forced by the evil King Herod to take refuge in Egypt; on the death of Herod he brings his family back to Israel, and settles in Nazareth. After this point there is no further mention of Joseph by name, although the story of Jesus in the Temple, in Jesus's 12th year, includes a reference to "both his parents". Christian tradition represents Mary as a widow during the adult ministry of her son.[Jn. 19:26-27] The gospels describe Joseph as a "tekton" (τέκτων); traditionally the word has been taken to mean "carpenter", though the Greek term evokes an artisan with wood in general, or an artisan in iron or stone.Very little other information on Joseph is given in the Gospels, in which he never speaks.

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