“…and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:19)
Whenever we take a closer look at the person of Joseph, the husband of Mary, we soon realize that we tend to take St. Joseph for granted not because we like to ignore him but because we naturally assume Jesus alone deserves all our attention.
There are a lot of lessons to learn from this great man, Joseph, some of which we would now try to itemize:
- St. Joseph was a just man.
The Bible refers to Joseph as a just man. (Matthew 1:19). This means he was a man of integrity. He was well respected in the community. He had a good name. He was a man of justice. He was not a wayward person and he believed in doing what is right at all times. Can it be said about me that I am a just person? Do I practice selective integrity?
- St. Joseph did not take joy in seeing the Pain of others.
St. Joseph was unwilling to put Mary to shame despite learning of her pregnancy before they came to be together as husband and wife. When I happen to suspect others of doing wrong, what is my immediate reaction? Do I keep things to myself or begin to gossip and announce to others?
- St. Joseph was Obedient to God at his own expense.
We are told that when Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the Angel of the Lord had commanded him. He agreed to play the role of a foster father to the Son of God. This meant that he agreed to live as a celibate for the rest of his life for the sake of Jesus Christ.
His own form of celibacy would even be more demanding given that unlike other celibates, he would have to live in the same house with a woman not related to him. Can I make a sacrifice for God? Am I only interested in what I can get from God rather than what I should give to God? Am I faithful to the demands of my calling in life? Do I keep my vows and promises to God?
- St. Joseph was a Man of Faith.
It takes great faith to agree to do what Joseph did for Jesus and Mary. Do you notice that God only spoke to him through dreams? Unlike the case of Mary and Zechariah who had an Angel appear to them in broad day, Joseph had to depend on his dreams.
It takes great faith to believe that what we see in our dreams is not simply a figment of our imagination. It takes Faith to believe that a young woman would actually conceive without knowing a man. Do I put a limit in my mind to what God can do? Do I really believe that with God, all things are possible? Am I willing to act based on what God reveals to me daily through my study of the scriptures?
In today’s second reading, St. Paul reminds us of Abraham, a man of faith, who hoped against hope that he would be the father of many nations and he was not disappointed in the end. St. Joseph too is a kind of Abraham in that he believed the message of the Angel and agreed to be the earthly father of Jesus Christ, this way giving credence to the prophecy of Nathan which we read about in today’s first reading. An offspring from the house of David whose house shall be established forever.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, may your earthly father, Joseph intercede for me. Amen
(Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Blessed Virgin Mary. Bible Study: 2 Samuel 7:4-16, Psalm 89, Romans 4:13-22 and Matthew 1:16-24).