• 26 Jun 20

Jun 26 - “St. Joseph of Nazareth” © icon by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM.

This icon depicts St. Joseph with the Christ Child, when Christ was presented in the Temple.  By Jewish law, a mother had to bring an offering to the Temple and be purified 40 days after giving birth.  The normal offering was a sheep, but a poor family, like Christ’s, could bring a pair of doves instead.  Behind Christ is the cave where he was born in Bethlehem.  Above Joseph’s other shoulder is the city of Jerusalem, with its Temple.  While the doves are to be offered on this day, at the end of Christ’s life, he himself will be the sacrificial victim in Jerusalem.

Departing from strict Byzantine iconography, Joseph is depicted as a middle-aged man rather then with white hair.  Possible confusion about Mary’s virginity is not a modern issue.  Today we struggle with issues of affection, and it is more important to respect Christ’s need for a father figure in his childhood.  Like any other child, Christ needed and wanted, a father’s love and example.

The Greek inscription in the upper corners of the icon reads "St. Joseph of Nazareth." The Greek letters next to Christ’s halo are abbreviations for "Jesus Christ," and the letters inside his halo are the divine name revealed to Moses: "I am who I am."

His feast day is March 19.