The Holy Gospel according to 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.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Often Joseph does not get much press in the Church, until recently. Mary and Jesus are the ones in the forefront of the Gospels. However, today’s feast is the celebration of a man who had a depth of faith and trust in God that most of us may never have. In the Gospel reading for today’s feast, Joseph had just learned that Mary was pregnant. Joseph clearly knew that he was not the father of this child. Take a moment and imagine the conversation Mary had with Joseph. How horrible it must have been for both of them! Mary realized that the tale of how she became pregnant must have sounded completely outlandish! She must have anticipated that she would be cast aside by Joseph. It would only be natural. Despite her deep faith and love in God, she must have been overwhelmed and frightened by this situation. She still was trying to absorb it all.
Joseph, however, was not a run-of-the-mill human being. He was a man who had walked with God all of his life. Joseph deeply trusted both God and he also trusted Mary. As fantastic as her story sounded, Joseph was a man of deep and lively faith, and Joseph had a fantastic story of his own to tell Mary. He also had been visited by an angel! This angel had told him what was ahead for both him and for Mary. Did Joseph wonder if he was losing his mind? Joseph had never had a vision before but he had walked with God throughout his life and he truly believed that God would guide and grace him, even though this path was far beyond human understanding. God had been the one who had brought Joseph to this moment and Joseph trusted God to be with him and Mary on their journey. Very few people would have trusted and accepted such a strange and wonderful situation! Both Mary and Joseph journeyed on together, always trusting in the love and strength of their God!
We all have times when we struggle, when we are angry, confused, or saddened. When these times come, may we call upon Mary and Joseph and ask them to give us a share of their love, faith and trust in our God who loves us so deeply. While we may not understand what God is doing in our lives, may we deeply believe that God is with us!
Action of the Day
Here are some simple ways to show your love and devotion to St. Joseph:
- Consecrate yourself to St. Joseph. Fr. Donald Calloway wrote a wonderful book (Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father) to help you understand who St. Joseph is and a powerful consecration to this humble saint.
- Read any spiritual book on St. Joseph.
- Pray a novena to St. Joseph.