Friday of the 3rd Week of Advent
1st Reading JER 23:5-8
Psalm PS 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19
Gospel MT 1:18-25
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home. – Mt. 1: 24
Pope Francis has proclaimed this new liturgical year as the Year of St. Joseph, in special memory of Pope Pius IX’s dedication 150 years ago of the universal church to the patronage of this loving, silent saint.
Almost exactly 10 years ago, I was able to hear an amazing homily titled “St. Joseph the Ignored” by Deacon Vic Machiano (may he rest in peace). I remember that Deacon Vic spoke so lovingly of St. Joseph. The homily so moved me that I contacted Deacon Vic in 2010 and he sent me a copy of his words. Sadly, I have somehow, somewhere lost it. Maybe St. Joseph would rather it be that way?
The gospel today is one of the few times we hear in scripture about this quiet saint. He must have been very honorable; we are told he was seeking a way to end his marriage contract with Mary without causing her harm. He must have been very receptive to the Holy Spirit to have this dream/vision and respond without hesitation. He must have been very loving to be chosen as the foster father of God-made-man.
Joseph the Ignored – he raised Jesus, provided for his household, and supported his wife, who was the Mother of God. He would have taught Jesus his own craft of carpentry. He gave human fatherhood a face to the Savior. Yet we know little about him.
And we don’t need to know much. That he was chosen to be with Mary in the moment of birth, to hold the infant Jesus in the first moments of that Holy Night, tells us all we need to know.
St. Joseph the father; St. Joseph the worker; St. Joseph the faithful; St. Joseph the listener; St. Joseph the branch which connected a house of Israel to the Savior of us all – pray for us.
Fun Facts – It is more common during Christmas to reflect on Mary’s experience of the Nativity, but there are a few really wonderful songs doing this same thing for Joseph. 4Him’s “Strange Way to Save the World”, and – my favorite – MercyMe’s “Joseph’s Lullaby”.