Monday, March 19, 2018

“St. Joseph was an ordinary sort of man on whom God relied to do great things. He did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do.”

“St. Joseph’s mission is certainly unique and unrepeatable, as Jesus is absolutely unique. However, in protecting Jesus, in teaching him how to grow in age, wisdom and grace, he is a model for every educator, and in particular for every father. … I ask for you the grace to be every closer to your children, allow them to grow, but be close, close! They need you, your presence, your closeness, your love. Be, for them, like St. Joseph: protectors of their growth in age, wisdom and grace. Guardians of their path, and educators: walk alongside them. And with this closeness, you will be true educators.”— Pope Francis: General audience on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, 2014

Gospel Text: (MT 1:16, 18-21, 24A)
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.

We have all seen paintings and sculptures of St. Joseph that, at least to me, look too bland and sweet to represent the real Joseph. There is nothing bland in the Joseph portrayed in the first of the two options for today’s gospel reading, a man torn inside by real tension and anguish.

Mary, his fiancée, has been away for a few months in the hill country of Judea and on her return it is clear to Joseph that she is pregnant. He knows all too well that the child is not his and he also knows very well that Mary is not “that kind of girl”. What has happened? Did someone assault her out there in the hill country? Deep anguish for a fiancé. He loves Mary and he knows that, if he says that he is not the father of that child, Mary could be stoned to death. So, he decides to fade away and be the “fall guy”. And then comes the dream.

And Joseph trusts the dream……….

God spoke to Joseph and said to take Mary into his home. He heard and he obeyed. He did the right thing, for he was a righteous man.

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