Solemnity of St. Joseph
Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
March 19, 2021 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E., Chaplain,
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
Sunday Reading Meditations
In the apostolic letter Patris Corge, on the 150th anniversary of the Proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis wrote: "With a father's heart: that is how Joseph loved Jesus, whom all four Gospels refer to as 'the son of Joseph.'"
Today's Gospel says: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home" (Mt 1:20). Joseph took Mary into his home. This means that he took Mary into his heart. Joseph loved Mary and in doing so participated in the fulfillment of God's plan. To take Mary into our homes is life changing. As we welcome her, she brings us Jesus and in doing so transforms our lives. Joseph always steadfastly respected, served and protected Mary. In the New Testament, we have another example of someone who took Mary into his home: Saint John Evangelist. Before dying, Jesus entrusted his mother to him: "He (Jesus) said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his home" (Jn 19:27). We are all invited to take Mary into our homes. When we take Mary into our homes, our lives change.
Joseph was a just man. Justice in the Scriptures means to fear God. A just man is someone who participates in the fulfillment of God's plans. In the fulfilment of God's will, he finds the fulfilment of his own life. Our lives becomes great when enter into God's design. The Messiah was to be a descendant of King David: "Go, tell my servant David, 'When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm'" (2 Sm 7:12). In order to fulfill this prophecy God needed Joseph's collaboration. It shows us that God fulfills his plans with our participation.
Saint Joseph sacrificed his personal plans in order to serve "God's plans. Like Abraham, Joseph's sacrifice was deeply fruitful: "I have made you father of many nations" (Rom 4:17). Joseph relinquishes his own plan to have a normal fami8ly, thereby fulfilling God's will. In the end, he did not lose anything but received infinitely more: Joseph became the husband of the Mother of God, the foster father of Jesus and in Christ the father of multitudes, including ourselves.
Joseph was God's gift to Mary. Today's preface says: "This just man was given by you as spouse to the Virgin Mother of God." To Mary, Joseph was a sign of the Father's love. She was not left to accomplish her unique vocation and mission alon3. She had Joseph's love, support and protection. God never leaves us alone in the fulfillment of our vocations but always sends us people to help us.
Joseph had a father's heart, a pure heart, because it was purified through Mary's Immaculate heart. With Mary he learned to center his life totally in Christ. Mary's beauty helped Joseph to see God as the source of ll beauty.
Toda's preface says that Joseph was "a wise and faithful servant." He was wise because he perceived all things as coming from the Father and returning to him. He had a father's heart because he entrusted all things to the Father, as he learned through his son Jesus,
In the apostolic exhortation Redemptoris Custos, Saint John Paul II wrote: "Commending ourselves, then, to the protection of him to whose custody God 'entrusted his greatest and most precious treasures,' let us at the same time learn from him how to be servants of the 'economy of salvation.' May St. Joseph become for all of us an exceptional teacher in the service of Christ's saving mission, a mission which is the responsibility of each and every member of the Church: husbands and wives, parents, those who live by the work of their hands or by any other kind of work, those called to the contemplative life and those called to the apostolate."
Yesterday, when I was saying First Vespers of Saint Joseph, I was struck by the hymn that ends with these words: "Make Nazareth in our home, and bring Jesus and Mary to our side." This is the reason for our devotion to Saint Joseph: he brings Jesus and Mary to us.
Let us follow the example of Saint Joseph. Let us welcome Jesus and Mary into our hearts. Together with Saint Joseph, let us learn to fulfill our lives as we do God's will. Amen.