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The Busted Halo Question Box
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This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

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Our readers asked:

Did St Joseph leave Mary after Jesus entered public life?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

From canonical scriptures, we simply do not know what happens to St. Joseph after Jesus is found in the Temple at the age of 12.  Traditions exist intimating that Mary was a widow at the time of the public ministry of Jesus.  More important than knowing exactly when Joseph died is reflecting on what we do know about Joseph.  He was a worker, (“tekton” in Greek) possibly a carpenter, but surely much more a blue collar worker than a trader for Goldman Sachs.  He was willing to go against the culturally accepted norms of his time and risk taking in Mary, knowing she was pregnant, and that the child was not his.  Thus he protected her from stoning, the penalty for women in her situation.  The first words in Matthew, “Be not afraid,” (the most oft repeated phrase in the Bible) are directed to Joseph.  Like Joseph, we should not fear going the unconventional route in order to love others and protect people, especially children, given to our care.

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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