Breaking Salesian Chaddy Father’s Day history, today 430 people within our amazing community took time out of their busy day to spend some quality time together at our Father’s Day Mass and Breakfast. Thank you to all who made today’s celebration possible (and a special shout-out to our amazing Parents’ Association for all their hard work and our talented Strings Ensemble).
Below, we share Fr Lawrie Moate’s homily from today’s Mass.
“What we know about St Joseph is found in the gospel of Matthew and Luke. We are told that he was a descendant of the house of Savio. He was the carpenter of Nazareth who was chosen to be the husband and protector of the Virgin Mary.
We’ve all seen statues or images of Joseph in our parish church or perhaps on Christmas cards. He’s usually presented as a grandfatherly figure – but if Mary was 16 or 17 at the time of Jesus’ birth, there’s no reason to suppose that Joseph was any older than 20 or 25.
He was no plaster statue, but a man of flesh and blood who had to face some big challenges and some difficult decisions. The first was when he discovered, after they were engaged, that Mary was pregnant. He knew the child was not his, so he planned to divorce Mary according to the Jewish law. But being a man of honour, he was also concerned for her safety. He knew that women accused of adultery couldn’t be stoned to death, and so he didn’t want their separation to be a public event.
St Matthew’s Gospel tells us that an angel appeared to him in a dream and said “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus because he is the one who is to save its people from their sins.”
The second challenge was when he had to respond to the edict of Caeser Augustus and return to the town of his birth for the census. He had to find somewhere for Mary to give birth to her son Jesus.
The third risky decision came when he was told that the infant Jesus was in danger from Herod, and so he had to leave with his young wife and baby and seek refuge in Egypt. They waited there as asylum seekers with Joseph as their protector until it was safe to return.
They returned to Nazareth and that’s where he took up his trade again and looked after the growing child Jesus. Then came the time that is every dad’s nightmare. Each year Joseph took his family to sights and sounds of the city. Jesus got lost. Joseph & Mary searched for him for 3 days and finally, they found him. He is told off for spreading his wings too far and too soon, and he answers with attitude to Mary’s question about why he had caused so much worry.
That’s the last we hear of Joseph in the gospels. We don’t know when he died, but we can presume it was some time before Jesus began his public ministry at around the age of 30. When Jesus returns to Nazareth a year or so before his crucifixion, the memory of Joseph is still alive because his people say of Jesus, “Where did all this come from? Is not this the son of Joseph?”
If we sum up what we know about Joseph from the Gospels, he comes across as strong and courageous, and yet a man with great tenderness, which is a sign of fortitude of spirit, a capacity for concern, compassion and love.
I want to ask all the boys here to think of the ways your Dads or carers exemplify one or more of the qualities that St Joseph had, and encourage you to let them know in your own way over this Father’s Day weekend that you honour them, that you respect them, that you love them, that you think they are great to have fun with.
You have been and are on the receiving end of their protection, of their loving concern, of being nurtured, of their being men of honour. Increasingly with maturity and an appreciation of your identity, it’s going to be your role to be protectors, to be young men of honour, to be people of loving concern for you parents and grandparents, for younger children, for girls and for those in developing countries you help through fundraising.
Trust your dads, confide in them, share with them your hopes and your dreams. Try not to get into the habit of answering their questions with a grunt.
All this requires the maturity to think not only of yourself. It requires hearts of strength and tenderness. May St Joseph, your fathers and all who care about you be examples to you and may they guide and protect you always.”
Happy early Father’s Day to all our Dads.