The community Mass will be celebrated at the main altar at 7:00 AM by Fr. James Orthmann. It is a work-day for the monks, so there will be no homily.
St. Joseph, as the protector of the Holy Family, is the Patron of the Universal Church. Since he died in the company of Jesus and Mary, he is also the patron of a happy death.
The Gospels describe Joseph as a descendant of King David; since the monarchy fell on hard times after the Babylonian exile, it is not unlikely for a member of royal David’s household to be a carpenter! Hasidic Judaism to this day identifies the descendants of David’s royal House; one of them was married to the son of a charismatic Hasidic rabbi in the 1990’s. The early Church Fathers fill in the sketchy narratives about St. Joseph in St. Matthew’s and St. Luke’s Gospels in various and even contradictory ways. We will never know the details for sure.
But one tradition describes Joseph as a widower, St. James being his eldest son by that first marriage. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, a contemporary of Jesus, describes St. James as a Pharisee, greatly respected by all Jews in Jerusalme, and probably of the “School of Hillel”. Hillel was a humanistic and compassionate interpreter of the Torah from the previous generation. Many of the sayings of Hillel seem like roots for the Sermon on the Mount! At the time of Jesus and James (referred to in St. Paul’s epistles and the Acts of the Apostles as the “brother of the Lord”) the contrary School of Shemai, a rigorist and a narrow interpreter of the Torah, was the dominant party; perhaps this information illuminates the controversies in the Gospel between Jesus and the “Pharisees”.