Thursday, March 19 ~ Fourth Week in the Season of Lent
Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Holy Gospel: Matthew 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.
Meditation: Joseph’s faith was put to the test when he discovered that his espoused wife was pregnant. Joseph, a just and God-fearing man, did not wish to embarrass or punish Mary. To all appearances she had broken their solemn pledge to be faithful and chaste to one another. Joseph, no doubt took this troubling matter to God in prayer. He was not hasty to judge or to react with hurt and anger. God rewarded him not only with guidance and consolation, but with the divine assurance that he had indeed called Joseph to be the husband of Mary and to assume a mission that would require the utmost faith, confidence, and trust in Almighty God. Joseph believed in the divine message to take Mary as his wife and to accept the child in her womb as the promised Messiah. Joseph was a worthy successor to the great patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He followed the call of God through the mysterious circumstances that surrounded the coming of Jesus. God entrusted this silent, humble man with the unique privilege of raising his only Son as a growing child. Joseph is a faithful witness and servant of God’s unfolding plan of redemption. Are you ready to believe in the promises of God, even when faced with perplexing circumstances and what seems like insurmountable problems? God the Father has not left us alone, but has given us his only begotten Son as our Savior. Where does your faith need to be strengthened? Ask the Lord to increase your faith and trust in his word.
Prayer: Grant, we pray, almighty God, that by Saint Joseph’s intercession your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Ask yourself: Are you prepared to obey the Lord in everything? Everything?! Faith in God’s word and obedience to his commands go hand in hand. Joseph, like Mary, is a model of faith and justice. Matthew tells us that Joseph was a “just man”. John Chrysostom, the great 5th century father writes: “The concept of ‘just’ here signifies the man who possesses all the virtues. By ‘justice’ one at times understands only one virtue in particular, as in the phrase: the one who is not avaricious is just. But ‘justice’ also refers to virtue in general. And it is in this sense, above all, that scripture uses the word ‘justice’. For example, it refers to: ‘a just man and true’ (cf. Job 1:1), or the two were just (cf. Luke 1:6). Joseph, then, being just, that is to say good and charitable…”