The fifth joy: The Return from Egypt to Nazareth.
In his 2016 painting The Return to Nazareth O’Brien offers no details of landscape, just Joseph and his family with the humble donkey, set against heaven and earth. Joseph’s eyes look upwards out of the picture, perhaps suggesting his trust in God above as he looks forward to home after the years as refugees from Herod in Egypt.
We think of the joy and relief that St Patrick must have experienced when he found himself back with family after six years in Ireland among strangers.
On pilgrimage, we choose to move out from home for a short time in the hope that we may return with new vision for what matters in the midst of all that is familiar.
In a world where there are millions of refugees we raise our prayer to St Joseph for all who work to respond to this grave situation, as well as for all who long for the joy of a place that they can again call home.
Let us pray with Pope Francis:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
St Joseph, pray for us.