2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16; Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22; Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24
“I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm.” (2 Sam: 4-5a)
“The promise [is] guaranteed to all his descendants not to those who only adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham.” (Rm 4:16)
“He did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife [Mary] into his home.” (Matthew 1:24a)
Today is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and earthly father of Jesus of Nazareth. It might seem that we are taking a break from our Lenten readings, but not really. Today as we focus on Joseph we are encouraged to focus on a model of righteousness.
Prayer of St Joseph, sung by Angelina
Joseph’s example reminds us of the faith and trust we are called to exemplify in our lives. God’s ways are not our ways. God is more concerned with faith rather than the letter of the Law. As Paul tells the Romans today the promise is guaranteed “to all… who follow the faith of Abraham.” Joseph is an example of this trust and humility. The Law dictated that a woman who became pregnant out of wedlock should be stoned. The first to throw the stone would be her father and her intended husband, if she was betrothed. Joseph had already decided against this course of action, but he also had decided to divorce Mary. Joseph was receptive (listens and obeys) to God’s message, and acts on God’s will not his own. He trusts God, and is devoted to Mary and Jesus, as their protector, provider and guide.
In celebrating St. Joseph’s feast day today we are reminded of the Lenten themes of sacrifice, trust, and the gift of faith…righteousness. Lent offers us a time to dispense with self-directed needs, which then allows us to have more time for other-directed love and generosity. Joseph is our model for how this can happen. Listen to the murmuring of the Holy Spirit, obey the direction of your heart, and have firmness of faith that God is guiding you to ever greater spiritual delights.
I would like to share with you a prayer to St. Joseph that was written by Pope John XXIII:
O St. Joseph, you whose life was spent in the perfect fulfillment of duty and whose manual labor sustained the Holy Family of Nazareth, protect us who trust in you and appeal to you. You know our aspirations, our anxieties, and our hopes; we come to you because we know that in you we shall find a protector.
You too were subjected to trials, toil and weariness, but your soul filled with the deepest peace, exulted with joy in its closeness to the Son of God entrusted to you, and to Mary, His sweet Mother.
Help us to understand that we are not alone in our work, and to know how to discover Jesus beside us, to receive Him with grace, and to guard him faithfully as you have done.
Please insure that everything in our family may be sanctified by charity, patience, justice, and the search for goodness. AMEN.
By Brigid Quinn Laquer