St. Joseph “The Protective Father”

“Aurea Garcia, the mother of Eduardo Posso, thought that Eduardo was living in Florida with his sister, father, and stepmother and attending school. Instead, the 12-year-old was pronounced dead at an Indiana hospital on May 24, 2019, court records showed signs of prolonged abuse, neglect, and starvation. Later Eduardo’s father, Luis Posso, 32, and stepmother, Dayana Medina-Flores, 25, were arrested and charged with murder, negligence, criminal confinement, and battery to a minor. Officials say the couple slowly starved Eduardo to death in a Bloomington, Indiana, motel. Garcia was not aware of all this; finally, the officials showed up and informed her about her son’s death.

Eduardo’s death has been classified as a homicide by a forensic pathologist. The cause was complications from starvation and malnourishment combined with the absence of medical care. The hospital staff noted that Eduardo was severely emaciated and had bruising, lacerations, and ulcers all over his body, according to court records. In the last weeks of his life, Eduardo had been confined to a motel bathroom, chained to a bathtub towel bar with a shock collar around his neck; this was according to a probable cause affidavit.” (kdrv.com/content/news/510804772.html).

Eduardo’s treatment and consequent death is a reminder that we are living in a world where human life does not matter. This begins with the concept, born out of a selfish disregard for others in modern society, that children are “expendable.” The result is an increasing number of people believe that the lives of the unborn do not matter. They think and say that it is a piece of “unwanted flesh that is growing in the women’s body; cut it off.” (this is a statement from the movie “Dying to be Heard”). The result of this attitude is that the protection of children in our society has often become dismal. Often, abused by parents and even siblings, they have no one to turn to for assistance and protection. Not long ago, I received a 65-year-old visitor; she was carrying a three-year-old boy. This little angel’s head was misshapen and the skull was damaged; when I inquired about it, she told me that when the boy was six months old, the mother did not want him – so she held his leg and dropped him to the ground a few times. Later this small boy was admitted to the hospital, and now he is being taken care of by this woman.

The failures of our society and the deliberate maltreatment and abuse of children is not new. It was often a staple of the ancient world that Christ was born into. Roman society was rife with human abuses and callous disregard for life. In the life of Jesus, He was spared all of these mistreatments as well as death through a special protector, His foster father, St. Joseph.

Joseph faithfully and obediently accepted the will of God, and he fulfilled God’s trust in him by caring for, protecting, and guarding God’s greatest treasures upon earth: Jesus and Mary. In the Gospel, St. Joseph was called to be the husband of Mary, and in accepting to do so, he was also taking the responsibility to take charge of and protect Jesus as his son.

Joseph was not wealthy, but he was a listener, a silent, prudent, compassionate, strong, courageous man, and he loved Mary and Jesus. He never let them down; at any moment, he was there for his family because he loved them dearly. Joseph is the visible protagonist who thwarts Herod in his intention to destroy the child (Mt 2,13-23). In this, he exercises the protective role of the father necessary for the survival of the child. He took them to Egypt, later brought them back, and settled in Nazareth (Mt 2,13, 19, 22). He did all these to protect the child and family. So, St. Joseph, the shadow of the Eternal Father upon earth, the protector of Jesus in His home at Nazareth, and a lover of all children for the sake of the Holy Child, should be the chosen guardian and pattern of every true Christian family.

It is this commitment and love, so carefully modeled by St. Joseph in the vicious climate of the ancient world, which is too often missing in our world today. St. Joseph stands as a reminder of the faithfulness to the sanctity of life and our deep appreciation of the value of sacrifice and love so necessary in families for the protection of children and of all life. Christians everywhere need to model his values in their daily lives in both their families and their larger communities. When this happens, the true protection of all children becomes possible and the abuses and threats to individuals like Eduardo and that misshapen child can become a thing of the past.

So, we ask St. Joseph, the earthly Guardian and protector of the holy family to show and teach us to love unconditionally and to be good and faithful servants of the Lord.

***This article has been posted with permission from The Pious Union of St. Joseph and their publication Now and at The Hour. Now and at The Hour is a non-profit bi-monthly publication of the Divine Providence Province of the Servants of Charity, a Catholic Religious Congregation founded by St. Louis Guanella, (1842-1915).

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