The feast of St. Joseph in the year of St. Joseph…
Reflections on the readings for the Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19, 2021): 2 SM 7:4-5,12-14,16; PS 89:2-3,4-5,27,29; ROM 4:13,16-18,22; MT 1:16,18-21,24
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"Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah." (Matthew 1: 16)
Today we not only celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph, we do so during the year (December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021) especially dedicated by Pope Francis in his honor. It was selected because it is the 150th anniversary of Joseph being named Patron of the Universal Church. The Apostolic Letter the Pope issued, Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart), focuses on several beautiful aspects of Joseph’s fatherhood: he was beloved by Jesus and Mary; he was tender, loving, courageous, and hard-working; he accepted and obeyed God’s will. This quiet, devout man – from whom we never hear one word in Scriptures – always put the needs of Mary and Jesus first, and defended and looked after them with his life.
We first hear about Joseph in the first chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel. “Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. … When His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:16, 18). Immediately we learn that although betrothed, they are not yet living together and Mary is going to have a baby. We can only imagine how stunned Joseph must have been. But he was a righteous man and despite any natural feelings of anger and betrayal, he wanted to protect as much as possible the young woman whom he loved. Then Joseph had a dream. Instantly, he turned over his own plans and hopes to Almighty God. The life that Joseph expected had utterly changed. He was now charged with the care of the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary. Joseph took her into the home he had prepared for them. But before they could settle down, they had to go to Bethlehem, then to Egypt. And Joseph did everything that was asked of him. Eventually, the Holy Family did return to Nazareth where Joseph raised Jesus as his own. Along with Mary, he taught Him about His Jewish faith. He also taught Jesus about being a carpenter and about being a man. Today, let us thank God for Joseph.