Somehow the idea of St Joseph being a martyr was not fitting well with my understanding of him... yet I am sure he had his share of woes! I remember sharing this thought with some of my oratory youngsters about Joseph and Mary, way back in 2000 (while I was in Nashik). What if the angel Gabriel appeared to a young couple and revealed to them what he revealed to Joseph and Mary two thousand years ago? Would they be so receptive? What would be their reaction? I still remember the look on the faces of my youngsters when I placed before them this supposition!!
For St Joseph to live all his life knowing that Jesus is not 'his' son and that Mary was not really 'his', would have been a real torment. But Joseph never compromised on his commitment and affection to either of them. I believe this was genuine and total. Now this is possible only if St Joseph accepted the fact stated above whole heartedly and with no ill feelings. Had he at any moment doubted or failed to accept this fact, life would have been miserable for him. But it wasn't!! He was totally at home that 'his' own were never 'his' alone! This acceptance brought about the best of him.
And by the way, Fr TV was fooling at table this morning: If St Joseph were to have lived today, he would have been behind the bars for marrying a minor! (Mary was believed to be only 14 when she married St Joseph!). (The picture is one of my favourite work of art in the Provincial house... and it is a mosaic in the Chapel).