ST. JOSEPH, HUSBAND OF MARY
"There is a general rule concerning all special graces granted
to any human being. Whenever the divine favor chooses
someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty
vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of
the Spirit needed to fulfill the task at hand"
"This general rule is especially verified in the case of St
Joseph .. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the
trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures,
namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph's wife." (St
Bernardine of Siena, Sermon 2 on St Joseph; C£ 2nd
Reading, Liturgy of the Hours).
The gospel passage for this solemnity is St Matthew's account
of the announcement to Joseph of the coming birth of Jesus. It
makes St Joseph the central and an active figure - Joseph is the
recipient of a revelation and God communicates his will to him.
The evangelist suggests that Joseph understood what was asked
of him and without further questioning or doubt accepted the
call of God. "When Joseph awoke he did as the angel of the Lord
had directed him" (Matthew 1:24). Joseph was a man of faith.
Earlier in the history of God's people, Abraham took God at
his word and believed His faith was an act of confidence in God
and an act of hope in a promise that only God could guarantee.
Joseph, like Abraham, had only the barest knowledge about his
vocation. Yet he accepted it with the same unquestioning faith,
absolutely trusting God
King David had intended to build a glorious temple to the
Lord, but the prophet Nathan bore a message from God not to
build a temple. Rather, God will build up for him a house, an
everlasting dynasty, a throne firm forever. Prophetically we
understand his words as a reference to Jesus Christ and his
kingdom. The place of this reading in our celebration today
serves also as a historical point of reference. Joseph was a
descendant of David and a foster father of Jesus, and therefore
has a significant role in the establishment of His kingdom
Our scripture lessons today teach us about faith and trust in
God Three figures are presented to us, each one an example of
faith - David, Abraham and Joseph. Each one of them corn-
mitted himself to an unknown without hesitation The silence of
the Scriptures regarding St Joseph speaks eloquently of his faith.
The few passages in which he is mentioned show him as a man
going about the business of what God asked of him.
The short reading at evening prayer on this solemnity speaks
to us of St Joseph:
"Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being. Do it
for the Lord rather than for men, since you know full well
that you will receive an inheritance from him as your
reward," (Colossians 3:23~24).
Generally, we have some notion of what God wants of us after
seeking guidance and advice. It may be clear to us how we are to
go about doing his will, yet we need still faith and trust in God's
Providence as we face the future. In any adventure with God
difficulties may be encountered, challenges will have to be met
The events of sacred history are a source of encouragement, as
we give ourselves unreservedly to God, and his purpose and will
Our prayer today honors St Joseph, "that just man, that wise
and loyal servant whom [God] placed at the head of his family,"
(Preface of the Mass), to cherish Mary and to watch over Jesus.
We ask for Joseph's watchfulness over the Church with the same
care and unselfish love he gave to Mary and Jesus.