Although Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, he was a true father to Jesus. When Jesus was found in the temple, Mary said to Jesus, “Your father and I have been looking for you.” (Luke 2:48). We can imagine the love and affection between Joseph and Jesus, and between Joseph and Mary. We can imagine Joseph’s pain at the poor circumstances of Jesus’ birth. We can imagine the pain that he must have suffered when Simeon told Mary that Jesus would be a sign that would be opposed and that a sword would pierce Mary’s soul (Luke 2:34-35). We can imagine the pain Joseph suffered when he had to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt for safety to preserve their lives.
What gave Joseph the strength to endure all the trials his vocation brought him? It was obviously his life of prayer that gave him the strength to be obedient to God’s call to him. He was a just man, a man of honor as our Gospel today tells us. (Matt 1;19) He had to have been a man of deep faith to fulfill his high calling. There is no record of him being present on Calvary so we presume he had died before Jesus. We can presume that this man of faith had Jesus and Mary present with him as he died. That is the way that all people of faith would like to die, in the company of Jesus and Mary.
In 1870 Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church. He said,
“in the same way that he once kept unceasing holy watch over the family of Nazareth, so now does he protect and defend with his heavenly patronage the Church of Christ.”