[This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream 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.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.] (Mt. 1:18-25)
St. Joseph plays a ginormous role in nativity of our Lord because it is by his very presence that Jesus can enter into the world virtually unnoticed. Joseph has the courage and trust in God’s words to take Mary, already pregnant (not by him), as his wife. He is seen as Jesus’s father, and so no one detects anything miraculous or scandalous.
We hear today St. Mathew attest to St. Joseph’s masculinity, “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame…” St. Joseph was a righteous man. A man who was asked by God to stick his neck out for the Virgin Mary by marrying her. A man who was asked to make the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem with his pregnant wife. A man who was asked by God to protect and care for Jesus and Mary. St. Joseph was a man who did all the Lord asked of him, and so helped change the course of human history.
St. Joseph stands as a model for all men. He shows men what authentic manhood looks like. Real men stand up for what’s right. They provide for and protect their families in whatever forms that may take. Most of all, real men lead their families to God by listening to His words.
Take a few moments today to pray for the men you know; grandfather, dad, brother, husband, son, boyfriend, friend, and even your priests. Ask God to give them courage and perseverance to live out their call to authentic masculinity.