Today we celebrate the feast of one of the most famous carpenter’s of all time – Joseph of Nazareth. A statue in the south aisle of St Chrysostom’s Church reminds us of him, his life, his encouragement, his inspiring example and prayers.
We often think of Joseph as an older parent, a silent figure, a man of quietness, faithfulness and strength. We think of him as a support for Mary, a foster father to Jesus. Today let’s think of him as a migrant.
Joseph fled from political power to a land he didn’t know, taking strange and unfamiliar routes. What did this fleeing to safety in a strange land mean to a poor Jewish family? They were forced to leave family, familiar ways and the land of their upbringing to seek safety for their child, and for themselves. What fears did they have?What suspicion and hostility did they have to face?
This weekend Christians are asked to pray for the persecuted Christians of the countries of the Middle East. For us in Manchester, UK with our comfort and safety, these lands can seem so far away, beyond many of experiences. Joseph knew those lands. Like Joseph there are those fleeing from fear and threat, some seeking new life in lands unknown to them, including this city. Joseph, Mary and Jesus Christ, himself, knew this experience, they knew the dangers and hopes of such a journeys.
This Holy Week we will in prayer, faith and imagination follow the Way of the Cross. As we do let us remember and pray for those who today, through life’s events, follow closely the way of Christ.
(A previous reflection on St Joseph can be read here)