“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” (Matthew 1:24)
Yesterday, we saw how Jacob’s blessings on Judah made him one of the direct ancestors of Jesus. Truth be told, Jesus Christ had no ancestors. Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus is actually the genealogy of Joseph, the Carpenter. Joseph is not the father of Jesus as we would say Abraham is the father of Isaac. Joseph only came to be associated with Jesus when he accepted to marry Mary who was already pregnant for Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
If Joseph had decided not to marry Mary, would there have been a connection between Jesus and David or Judah and so on? Notice how the Angel addressed Joseph in today’s Gospel passage? “Joseph, son of David” meaning that it is Joseph who is the bloodline of David. And it is through Joseph that Jesus came to be known as “Son of David.”
And guess what, it was through a dream that God informed Joseph of this. Like the Joseph of the Old Testament, this Joseph was also a great dreamer. And just as Joseph welcomed his family to Egypt to save them from the famine, this Joseph would have to flee at night with Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt to save him from the mass slaughter of Herod the Great. Again, as Joseph was industrious and chaste in the house of Potiphar so was this Joseph industrious (being a carpenter) and chaste.
Even though Joseph had already made up his mind on what to do concerning Mary, he found the faith to obey the voice of the Angel taking it as a message from God. We Christians of nowadays cast and bind (rejecting by force) the contents of our dreams that are not in line with what we want. God was making a very huge demand on him; asking him to go against his plans. Joseph could have as well woken up from sleep to cast and bind the Angel, but he accepted that God’s plan was superior to his. Note that he wasn’t just going to be the guardian of Mary, by this marriage, he was accepting a life of celibacy despite having to live with her.
Joseph deserves a lot of commendation for his Faith. By obeying the Angel, Joseph showed that he believed in the possibility of God taking flesh in the womb of a person. If he didn’t believe this, he would have suspected Mary of immorality. Joseph believed strongly that with God all things are possible.
The role of Joseph in the life of Jesus proves that every child needs a father; one who is there to provide, protect and train. Today is another day to say a big thank you to our Fathers; the men who were there for us from cradle, the men who bore the harsh heat of the sun and worked all day just to put food on our tables, the men who were our first teachers in the faith, the men who disciplined us when we went astray, the men who moulded us to be who we are today. Fathers are not necessarily biological. Fathers are just a blessed species. True fathers are even very rare today. Are you a Father? What kind of Father are you?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, bless our Fathers; biological fathers, foster fathers and even our Reverend fathers. Amen. Bible Study: Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-19 and Matthew 1:18-24).