St. Joseph our Protector


March 19, 2021  SOLEMNITY


WORD of the DAY 

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.  (Matthew 1:16/18-21/24)

How shall I live this Word?   

The year of Saint Joseph proclaimed by Pope Francis through the apostolic letter “Patris corde” is a sign of hope that helps us to renew ourselves in love. Pausing today to contemplate the figure of St. Joseph is a commitment to walk in his steps, it is to strengthen our faith: “The Saints help all the faithful to pursue the holiness and perfection of their state.” Their life is concrete proof that it is possible to live the Gospel. Jesus said: “Learn from me, who am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29), and they in turn are examples of life to be imitated. St. Paul explicitly exhorted: “Become imitators of me!” (1 Cor 4:16). St. Joseph says this through his eloquent silence. … All that remains is to implore the grace of graces from St. Joseph: our conversion. ” (Patris corde) In today’s Gospel passage, Matthew as a good Jew, describes Joseph’s attitude as ‘just’. Joseph is ‘just’, that is, irreproachable, authentic, honest, of high profile, because he does not judge according to appearances. ‘Righteous’ like the righteous of the Old Testament, like the devout before God, like the upright in heart that Scripture praises so much. And in the deep night here is the dream, a clear invitation to trust. Joseph with profound freedom, puts aside his plans and makes room for the will of a God that he does not fully understand, but that he feels as the One to whom he can hand over his own history. The misunderstanding of what is happening is supported by this reassurance:  ‘do not fear’, do not be afraid. Fear blocks us, imprisons us, binds us. Joseph, with infinite trust in the mysterious plan of God’s will, makes significant choices. “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” He takes full responsibility and acts accordingly. Today we could say: discernment lives. We too, in listening to the Word of God, allow ourselves to be guided, educated, reflect, and act  not starting from our ego but from God’s Love for us, and from the life and needs of others.

We need only ask Saint Joseph for the grace of graces: our conversion. Let us now make our prayer to him: Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man. Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage, and defend us from every evil.

The Voice of  Gianfranco Ravasi, Theologian

Saint Joseph: an obedient and prayerful man who ‘knows how to take care’. Joseph knows how to move even in the night, while keeping the memory of the day, that day he knew living a life in justice, that is, in a prayerful and obedient attitude before God . Joseph did not demure to withdraw, to focus on his own comforts and safety, but he took the child and Mary with him, thus becoming for them a concrete, visible symbol of that good Father, of that God who  takes care of everyone, of whom Jesus will speak in the Gospel.

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