SATURDAY, SECOND WEEK OF LENT
(Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
2 Sm 7:4-5,12-16; Ps 89:2-5, 27, 29; Rom 4:13,16-18,22; Lk 2: 41-51
SAINT JOSEPH, “THE QUIET MAN”
If a film would be made of his life today, I think it might be called “The Quiet Man”. St Joseph was truly “the quiet man” in the history of human salvation. Holy Scripture does not have much to say about him nor does it contain much of a record about anything he said. And, yet, his quiet and unassuming role in the lives of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her divine son Jesus has earned him an unforgettable and exalted place in our Christian faith. Blessed Pope Pius IX declared this “quiet man” patron of the universal Church.
Today, I would like to single out three things to celebrate about St. Joseph.
- Joseph was, as today’s feast solemnly commemorates, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If it were not for that fact, if it were not for Mary, the world would never have heard of this quiet man. He loved a young Jewish maiden who said “yes” to God in complete trust and confidence and he joined her in that “yes.” For the Christian, Joseph as “husband of Mary” is the model of openness to God’s will.
- Joseph was the foster-father of the Lord Jesus. The great teacher and doctor of the Church St Thomas Aquinas wrote that in the incarnation and birth of Jesus Christ, God needed the care and protection of a father. Pope Francis describes the fatherhood of Joseph in several ways: “A beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father, a creatively courageous father, a working father, a father in the shadows.” A quiet man whose example Pope Benedict XVI encouraged us to follow: “Let us allow ourselves to be ‘infected’ by the ‘silence of St. Joseph.’ We have much need of it in a world which is often too noisy, which does not encourage reflection and listening to the voice of God. For the Christian, Joseph as foster-father of the Lord Jesus is the father, guardian and protector of the Church.”
- Joseph was a working man who found God’s presence amid human labour. He was a humble man who did not seek recognition or privilege in the conduct of his daily life. The calluses on his hands bore great witness to the dignity of everyday ordinary life. For the Christian, Joseph as a quiet working man showed what it meant to practice the presence of God. He is a model of quiet prayer and closeness to Jesus, whose example invites us to think about the time we devote to prayer each day.
“Each of us,” Pope Francis says, “can discover in Joseph the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence, an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. St Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.” “Joseph’s silence is not mutism; it is a silence full of listening, an industrious silence, a silence that brings out his great interiority. “The Father spoke a word, and it was his Son”, comments Saint John of the Cross, – “and it always speaks in eternal silence, and in silence it must be heard by the soul”.
And so, as we journey through Lent, especially when we gather around the Eucharistic table, let us pray to St Joseph, asking him to guide us and help us to open our hearts to God’s plan, that we may be upright and righteous, that we may be men and women faithful to God’s will, that we may be able to pray, “Father show me how I fit into this plan of yours.” Let God speak to us in our dreams and then let us get up and do as he directs us. Joseph’s obedience to God was sweetened by his deep love for Mary. Therefore, as soon as the angel revealed to him what God had asked of Mary, he chose without hesitation to accompany her in her “yes”, supporting her in her mission, making the sacrifices necessary for her sake. Today many modern fathers and mothers easily give up when their marriage is tested and succumb to the temptation of going their separate ways. Do we recognize in marriage and family life, the plan of God and the mission he desires us to fulfil by our life of love and sacrifice?
Response: His descendants shall continue forever.
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