St. Joseph – Letter from Fr. Buehler
During this time of year, we give a lot of focus to the coming of Jesus, and the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today’s Gospel invites us to also consider the important role of St. Joseph. His was no accident! Consider just a few things of what Scripture tells us about St. Joseph.
Faith – St. Joseph is described briefly but powerfully as a ‘righteous man,’ which in Semitic terms means he whole-heartedly participated in God’s covenant, especially keeping the 10 Commandments. They were not an external practice for him, but stemmed from a deep integration of God’s love for him and his people that shaped his whole world-view. It would have led to a life of prayer that sought to understand and apply God’s revelation to his daily life, and in doing so, would have brought great confidence in God’s power, for his prayer would have seen it in action.
Contemplation – Joseph would have known about Mary’s holiness, and through her witness and the appearance of the angel in his own dream, that Jesus was not just an ordinary boy, but the God-man conceived by the Holy Spirit. As the ‘just man’, even humbled in the face of such a great mystery, he would have fulfilled his duties as a husband and father according to God’s designs. Amidst it all, though, he also would have been contemplating the life of Christ as he
‘grew in age and wisdom’.
Promptness – Joseph, in all that he did, was prompt in doing God’s will. As soon as he knew it, even if he didn’t understand it, he did it. He was prompt in taking Mary into his home at the instruction of the Angel of God. He was unhesitant in leading the Holy Family into exile in Egypt to escape from Herod, when another Angel appeared to him (imagine travelling into ene-my territory with a newborn infant without modern conveniences!). And he was obedient in returning to Nazareth when the Lord knew it was safe for him to return out of Egypt.
St. Joseph remains a powerful role model, intercessor, and friend for us today. So many Saints speak to his instrumental role in how they lived their lives as disciples of Jesus. What about you and me? Perhaps this is encouragement for each of us to grow in our devotion to St. Joseph.
P.S. The Knights of Columbus have an excellent little book on St. Joseph. You can find it here: http://www.kofc.org/en/resources/cis/cis328.pdf .