Friday, March 19, 2004

Solemnity of St. Joseph

St. Joseph is a tremendous saint for our times. Scripture does not record anything that he said, but instead St. Matthew, in particular, recorded what he did. He was given dreams in which angels told him what he should do to help bring about the salvation of his people.

First, the angel told St. Joseph that he was to take our Lady to be his wife because the Child in her womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Scripture records simply that, "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him" (Matthew 1:24). In others, he showed tremendous virtue by believing the word of the Lord and promptly obeying it. His actions speak much louder than perhaps any words might have.

The second time Scripture records an angelic visit to St. Joseph, he is told to take our Lady and our Lord to Egypt. He is told to flee because Herod is seeking to kill our Lord because the wise men had noted that Jesus is the King of the Jews and Herod would brook no usurper to his title. It was no small journey from Bethlehem to Egypt, but again St. Matthew writes succintly, "he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt" (2:14). St. Joseph demonstrated great courage and faith to take our Lady and the infant Child Jesus to Egypt.

Then, after the death of Herod who had murdered innocent children in his attempt to kill our Lord, an angel again appears to St. Joseph in a dream. This time he is told to return to Israel. And again, St. Joseph demonstrates his trust in the word of the Lord and his provision by returning to Israel. He settles in Nazareth with Mary and Jesus.

The last time Scripture mentions St. Joseph he is with our Lady as they anxiously search for Jesus for three days. The twelve-year-old Jesus has remained in His Father's house. When they find Jesus, He notes to his parents that their authority must be subordinate to that of His Heavenly Father's authority. Our Lady and St. Joseph accept this word. This demonstrates their humility and willingness to be obedient in all things.

It is no wonder that our Holy Father has noted that the Solemnity of St. Joseph is a time to reflect on the family's influence on children. In God's providence, St. Joseph was called to be the head of the Holy Family. He demonstrated the virtues which we must try to pass on to our children--obedience, courage, and faith.

John Paul II sees the solemnity of St. Joseph this Friday as a chance to reflect on the decisive influence of the family on children.

"This solemnity exhorts the families of today, comforted by the example of Mary and Joseph, who with love cared for the incarnate Word, to be inspired by their lifestyle in making daily decision of life and strength to overcome the difficulties," the Pope said in Polish at the end of today's general audience.

"Only in a genuine family, united lastingly and lovingly, can children reach healthy maturity, drawing from the example of freely given love, fidelity, reciprocal self-forgetfulness, and respect for life," he added.

Speaking afterward in Italian, the Holy Father invited young people to follow the example of St. Joseph, to "correspond every day with the Lord's wishes."

John Paul II presented Jesus' adoptive father to the sick as "support in suffering." The Pope also encouraged newlyweds to be "always docile to divine plans" as St. Joseph was.

Posted by David at 9:10 PM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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