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Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
Opening Prayer: Dearest Lord, Father of Joseph and my heavenly Father, be with me in this time of prayer, free me from all distraction, and open my heart to hear and recognize your will as Joseph did in the voice of the angel.
- Son of Jacob, Son of David, Wife of Mary: The lineage of Our Lord is well documented in the Scriptures. God the Father placed Joseph in the position as head of the Holy Family to raise Jesus. God likewise places each of us in a particular family, under circumstances he predetermines. Our lineage, however, does not merely trace back through our human ancestry. We are made in the image and likeness of the Father. We are sons and daughters of God the Father through Baptism. Our truest identity is “child of God,” and we too have an important part to play in salvation history.
- Doing the Right Thing? Upon hearing that Mary was pregnant, Joseph had a difficult decision to make. Because he was a good man, he intended to divorce her quietly. He was following his own human logic, grounded by his virtuous conscience. We sometimes find ourselves in difficult circumstances without a clear path forward. Do we strive to make a decision by using our intellect, emotions, and will, or do we first seek heavenly advice?
- Do Not be Afraid: “Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.” When Joseph awoke from his inspired dream, he must have been frightened on many levels. First, he had been visited by an angel. Second, the angel told him that Mary conceived a child by the Holy Spirit. (The Holy Spirit was not a widely understood concept at the time.) Third, Joseph was informed that the child was a son who would save people from their sins. This revelation must have shocked Joseph, a devout Jew who had been taught that no man can forgive sin (see Mark 2:7). Joseph put aside any misgivings he may have had as he obediently took Mary into his home and became the foster father of the Redeemer. May we imitate Joseph in his docility to the Holy Spirit, especially in times of confusion or fear.
Conversing with Christ: Dear Jesus, in you I discover my real identity as a child of God. You know that I desire to make good choices that are pleasing to you, but that I sometimes fall short. May I never lose heart but continue to strive to follow your will and remain open to the gentle promptings of your Holy Spirit.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will think of St. Joseph’s courage, and promptly and obediently step out of my comfort zone when the opportunity arises.
For Further Reflection: Click here for more on the discernment of spirits; read “The Discernment of Spirits” by Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V.
written by Marjorie Davin
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