Faith, Trust and Obedience in St. Joseph
?2Sam 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16; Ps 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29; Rom 4:13, 16-18, 22; Matt 1:16, 18-21, 24a
?Faith, Trust and Obedience
Today, we celebrate the solemnity of St. Joseph, the Husband of Mary. In the history of the Catholic Church, he is the most cherished Saint, only next to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Devotion to him dates as far back as the 5th and 6th Centuries and since then, there has been great attention paid on him. This is despite the fact that there is very little said of him by the Scriptures? Even the two Synoptic Gospels that mentioned him noted with emphasis in the genealogy of Jesus that he was not the real father of Jesus. In none of the Gospels was he talked of beyond the third chapter except where it could be inferred when Jesus was called the Carpenters son in Luke.8:19.?
Nonetheless, we must observe that in those places that he was explicitly mentioned, his roles bring out clearly what the Church wants us to learn from todays liturgy, and indeed, from his life, namely, Faith in God.?
The Gospel reading which is taken from Matt 1:16, 18-21, 24 begins with the last part of the genealogy account in Matthew. Beyond the fact that that brought Joseph into the direct line of the history of salvation, it significantly gives Jesus the legal claim to the title of the Son of David. That establishment is important because, for Jesus to be accepted as the promised Christ, he has to be of the dynasty of David. Recall the crowds question on his origin in John 7:41-42: Would Christ come from Galilee? Does the Scripture not say that the Christ must be descended from David? The first reading already gives us an account of that promise which God made to David that his kingdom would be established forever and it is his offspring who would occupy the seat of that kingdom (2Sam 7:12).?
Now, that came to pass as God wanted it because Joseph obeyed the instruction of the angel to go ahead and take Mary as his wife despite the fact that she was found to be pregnant before they came to live together (see Matt 1:24). As a Jew, he would not be unfamiliar with the Law of Moses in Num 5:11-31 which demands that he should repudiate Mary and that in Deut 22:20, 21 which demands that she should be stoned. In fact, he had already made up his mind to divorce her, although it was to be secretly in order not to put her to shame. Yet, when the angel spoke to him, he obeyed, though he might not have gotten full understanding.?
That is the point of connection between the Gospel and the Second Reading. In the Second Reading, the promise made to Abraham and his descendants was said to have come through the uprightness of faith. Abraham was reported to have believed and hoped even when there seems to be no hope. Like Abraham, Joseph was presented with difficult options from the angel of the Lord, he obeyed and so was able to carry out the divine plan for him.
Nonetheless, Joseph could not have done this purely on human strength. Faith like his comes only as a gift of God. Hence, we can see in his life, a miraculous overpowering grace of God in every way. According to St. Bernadine of Sienna, “whenever divine grace selects someone to receive particular grace or some especially favoured position, all the gifts of his state are given to that person and enrich him abundantly.?
In our different states of life, God always opens his arms of grace to enable us live out our vocations faithfully. The voice of the angel keeps ministering to us through the norms that guide our vocations. Most times, when we are faced with difficult situations in life and confronted by difficult decisions to be taken, we put our trusts in persons or things that do not really matter, believing that we can do it all by ourselves. Yet, the only thing that is required of us is to “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”➕
The Letter to the Hebrews 11: 1 says that it is only faith that can guarantee the blessings that we hope for. So when we join to make that faith declaration that Abrahams blessings are mine, we should equally ponder on how well we believe. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us in Porta Fidei that the door of faith (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God. How do we respond to this opportunity??
As we thank the Lord for the example of St. Joseph, we pray that he may teach us to respond with the same obedience and faithfulness. May this faith and obedience inspire others to also come into communion with God, his through Christ our Lord. Amen.?
Have a lovely weekend. It is well with you.?