Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 1:16,18-21,24 or Luke 2:41-51 – Monday, 19 March 2018
What was the role of Saint Joseph in the life of Jesus? Someone might think he had no role because he was not the biological father of Jesus. Yet the facts are totally different. They show what a vital and indispensable role Joseph played. The Word of God became flesh, and was received and brought up in the family of Saint Joseph. As husband of Mary, it was his privilege to look after the God who became man. He was the father of Jesus, not by blood relationship, but by law and true paternal bonds. Jesus belonged to Joseph’s family by right of Joseph’s marriage to the mother of Jesus, and Jesus enjoyed Joseph’s fatherly love and care. Jesus loved, respected and obeyed Joseph and Mary.
Remember with what delicacy Joseph, himself suffering great agony, planed to put away Mary quietly. That was the best choice he had under the circumstances: to obey the law without exposing Mary to any harm. But when the angel of the Lord revealed to him the mystery of the virginal conception of Jesus and asked him to take Mary as his wife, Joseph recognized this as the will of God and accepted it in faith and submission, and took Mary as his wife. The obedience of Joseph was inspired by a deep faith. He has extraordinary faith, as he took in good spirit all the extraordinary and unheard of things that took place in the Holy Family.
Remember the difficult journey to Bethlehem and the`birth of Jesus there in a cave. How Joseph anxiously sought a suitable place for Mary! And how he assisted her in her labor and pain, and how he rejoiced with Mary at the birth of Jesus! He had also the joy of seeing the wise men worship the new-born Child Jesus. Remember how Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary by night to protect the Child. Mary trusted Joseph and perfectly cooperated with him in this long and difficult journey with the holy Baby. But for this journey, the very life of the Baby would have been in danger. There in Egypt, Joseph had to organize everything from scratch and settle down, get a house, find enough work and learn the Egyptian language. Yes, there are still other things for us to remember regarding the role of Joseph as the head of the Holy Family.
Truly Joseph had a vital role in the drama of the Incarnation. Through him Jesus became a descendant of David. It was Joseph who named Jesus. And Jesus obeyed Joseph. It is very clear from the Gospels that people recognized Joseph as the father of Jesus. We see in Saint Joseph a docile instrument in the hands of the heavenly Father. He is a model of faith, hope, love for God, charity, obedience, poverty, chastity, humility, dutifulness, meekness and every other virtue. How prudent and peaceful he was in conflict situations!
What Saint Joseph was for Jesus, he is also for us. We should therefore learn from Saint Joseph and imitate him, and ask through his intercession for the grace to co-operate effectively in the world’s redemption.
Jakarta, 19 March 2018
A Christian Pilgrim