The Bible doesn't tell us much about the earthly father of Jesus but from the little that it does tell us, fathers can learn a lot about what is needed to be a good Christian father. Who was St. Joseph and what can we learn from him today?
In Matthew 1:18-23 we learn that he was betrothed to Mary but before they lived together, he found out that she was with child. He was upset, yet he didn't rush to doing anything. He took time to think on what he should do. He decided that he would divorce her quietly. Then an angel came 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." The angel also told him to name the child Jesus, which means "God with us." When Joseph awoke he did not question what the Lord requested, rather he did everything that was asked of him.
These readings also teach us about obedience to God. This is not always an easy task to follow. It not only shows us that Joseph was obedient to God but also that he loved Mary and his Son Jesus very much and that he wanted to protect them from evil and from any harm. He was a loving person, another thing fathers can learn from St. Joseph.
In Luke 2:22 we learn that Jesus' parents presented Him to the Lord. We learn from this action that Joseph was a faithful man. He was a father who brought his child to be presented to the Lord. He brought him to the temple, raising up his child to learn about the faith he loved. Christian fathers are called to teach children about the faith and to present them to our Lord.
In Luke we learned that each year his parents took Him to the temple for the Passover feast. When He was 12, upon returning, they didn't realize that Jesus was not with them. They went back anxiously looking for Him. After three days they finally found Him back in the temple. Mary said to Him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for You with great anxiety." And He said to them. "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" They did not understand but they accepted it because they had faith. I can imagine that it was possible that St. Joseph felt a little hurt as Jesus acknowledged that he was not his biological son. Even though he wasn't, he loved Jesus as his very own, which we can realize through his actions in trying to find his son who was missing for three days. Yet we see he had unconditional love for Jesus.
Today there is great need for foster parents in Western New York. There are many children who need someone to love them. A larger proportion of those needing homes are African-American and Hispanic. You can contact Catholic Charities or Erie County Department of Social Services to find out more information.
Fathers, pray to St. Joseph. He is a perfect model of what it is to be a father. He cared for his family and most importantly he loved them and he loved God.