Scripture: 1st Reading: 2Sam7,4-5,12-14,16; Resp. Psalm: Ps89,2-3,4-5,27,29; 2nd Reading: Rom4,13,16-18,22; Gosp. Accl.: Ps84,4; Gospel: Mt1,16,18-21,24
Greatness comes with a lot of sacrifices. Success comes with a lot of pain. Serving God comes with a lot of privations, sacrifices, giving up lots of things that are contrary to His will. To be called by God for a special service is a great privilege. With it comes great responsibilities, sufferings, sacrifices, misunderstandings, mockery and scorn. With it also is great joy, happiness, fulfillment, contentment, a sense of great satisfaction that one's life is on the right track and direction.
The call of St. Joseph to accept, take care of and provide a human, earthly father figure to the only begotten Son of God was unarguably one of the greatest responsibilities ever given to any mortal by God. The one that was greater than this was the one given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, his spouse, to be the Mother of our Lord. That task given to this humble, righteous and just man would definitely have tasked all his human powers.
Here was a man who wanted to settle down and have his own family. Here was a man with lofty plans and ideals about what kind of family he would like to have. To realize that, he chose the most virtuous virgin ever. All was going according to plan, the betrothal was done. All that remained was for Mary to come to live with him. Then his life was thrown upside down.
Joseph however accepted the plans of God. He accepted to cooperate and collaborate with God in His plan for the salvation of the world. Joseph saw it as a privilege for God, the omnipotent, to ask him, a mere mortal, for his hand of cooperation. He was totally obedient to God's will. In this way, the prophecy of Nathan in today's first reading became fulfilled that an offspring of David, one from his lineage, would build a befitting, house for God.
That offspring would be given a kingdom that Yahweh Himself would establish for him. He would be Yahweh's son, and Yahweh would be his Father. Through this son, David's house and kingdom shall be made secure before the Lord and his throne would be established forever. That offspring is Jesus Christ our Lord. The lineage He would come from was that of Joseph, the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, an offspring of king David.
Joseph was a man of deep faith in God and His promises. Joseph was a righteous man. He believed in the promise and the covenant Yahweh made with Abraham. Our second reading today praises such "blind faith" in God. It showed forth Abraham as the arche-type, the model of this kind of faith. The word teaches us that even when the indices indicated otherwise, Abraham still believed in God and His promises. He believed against hope. He knew that in spite of his childlessness through Sarah his wife, God had His plans and those plans would come to pass. He had faith and his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness.
Joseph had such quality of faith. God for him was at the centre of everything in his life. He was a man of silence and contemplation, whose voice was never heard in the gospel, but whose deeds loomed large. He was a man of dream, who believed that what God revealed to him would come to pass. He was a man of total obedience to the will and plans if God. He was a man of peace who would not want Mary, his spouse, to be exposed to any harm or shame. He was a man of listening obedience, who discerned the still, gentle, whispering voice of God. He was a man filled with the love of God.
St. Joseph, by his virtues and not by the fact of having been the foster father of our Lord, is proposed to us as model on our pilgrim journey. He is proposed as a model of unwavering obedience to God's will, of silent contemplation of His designs, of purity and love in marriage, of deep collaboration with God in the work of salvation. He did not fully understand what God was asking of him. But he knew it was going to be a great sacrifice. In spite of these, he fully gave his assent to the plans of God.
We are equally challenged today to give ourselves totally to God. On this Lenten day, the model of the life of this just man is proposed to us. We are given his example to spur us on to greater commitment to holiness of life, to deep attachment to God, to silent contemplation of the divine will of God, to unquestioning obedience to His designs.
Let us pray: "Grant, we pray, almighty God, that by Saint Joseph's intercession, your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.