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T.C. wrote:

Hello again!!

I have another question for CPATS/AskACatholic.com.

My husband and I were discussing the life of Our Lord and the role of His earthly father (Joseph). We discovered that beyond Jesus' early life at home with Our Blessed Mother and Joseph, we could not find any information on what became of Joseph.

  • We know (from our Catholic teachings) that he became St. Joseph; however, what happened to him after Jesus began His Ministry?
  • Why wasn't Joseph around (presumably) when Our Lord was going through the hardest time of His earthly existence (Passion and Crucifixion)?
  • Why was Joseph not around to console Mary?
  • Was it because he (Joseph) knew that Jesus had God as His Father?

Thanks for all you do to answer some very tough questions.

We tell everyone we know about CPATS/AskACatholic.com ... they too enjoy your web site!!

Sincerely,

T.C. in the Northwest

  { What became of St. Joseph after Jesus began His Ministry and where was he at the Crucifixion? }

Mike replied:

Hi T.C.,

There has been little known about the life of St. Joseph. We do know he was a worker along the lines of one who would do carpentry [and/or] construction work. I believe he died relatively early in Jesus' Life.

What I'm about to say is only personal, theological opinion and has no doctrinal weight at all:

I've often speculated on this while meditating on the fifth joyful mystery of the Holy Rosary on this issue.

We can recall from this mystery: Joseph and Mary were searching for Our Lord when he was a child and they finally found him teaching in the temple.

Luke 2:42-52 reads:

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; 43 and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; 47 and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." 49 And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" 50 And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.

Luke 2:41-52

I've often wondered about the Scripture text I've bolded. In my humble opinion, if you are a Jewish Rabbi or Pharisee and for the past few [minutes/hours] you have been astonished by the wisdom of the Christ child's answer and the Child himself says, "he must be about his father's business", I would tend to think that the source of business would be a threat to their religious authority, at least from a human perspective, and especially, in a patriarchal society.

  • Would Joseph be a threat to the point where Jewish Rabbis or Pharisees would want to remove Joseph physically from society — by killing him?

    History is silent, but I wonder.

Just my theological and personal opinion.

The Tradition of the Church tells us he had already died before the Crucifixion of Our Lord.

You said:

  • Was it because he (Joseph) knew that Jesus had God as His Father?

No one knows what Joseph knew or did not know. Nevertheless because of St. Joseph's key role in the protection, feeding, and upbringing of the God-Man Jesus, the Church down through the centuries has justly given him many titles of honor including:

  • Protector of the Universal Church, and
  • Patron Saint of Workers

I hope this helps,

Mike

Eric replied:

Hi T.C.,

I am convinced he died early.

This would make sense if he was a widower when he married Mary as some traditions say.

Eric

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