With Joseph as our model, we continue our Lenten Journey
In commemorating the life of St. Joseph this week, we note that the words in Sacred Scripture about him are few, but rich with meaning. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that when Joseph, engaged to Mary, learned that she was with child, he, being a just and upright man, did not want to disgrace her and expose her publicly to condemnation or stoning. So he planned to divorce her quietly until in a dream Joseph realizes that what is happening to Mary is of God.
According to Jewish tradition, "just people" are blessed not by reason of a single act, but in view of their life as a whole - their pattern of living, their predictable personality, their steady style of being in right relationship with God, with the people in their family and with their religious, social and political circles. To be upright is to be faithful to relationships even at the risk of being judged and criticized. In the many perilous situations Joseph faced caring for Mary and Jesus, he kept his balance by always moving forward, believing that God would see him through his fears, doubts and confusion. In Joseph, justice and compassion blended; uprightness and tenderness embraced.
Joseph models so much for us as we live in a world marked by anxiety and violence. Let each of us uniquely strive to live just, upright, kind and tender lives. May our steady style of being in right relationship with God, God's people and all creation help replace and heal the loneliness, social isolation and violence that fill the hearts of too many in our world.
Let us pray.
*Response: Joseph, teach us the way.
For the times we struggle with strained or broken relationships*
For the times we face difficult situations and dilemmas*
For the times we are challenged to go beyond the ordinary to do the extraordinary*
For the times we struggle with parenting, teaching or comforting*
For the times we are called to the new, the different, or the unexpected*
For the times we find it hard to keep moving forward in the midst of anxiety and confusion*
For the times we are challenged to be both just and merciful, upright and tender*
May the gifts of Joseph and our own God-given gifts empower us on our Lenten journey. We ask this in the name of Jesus and through the power of the Spirit who can do more than we can ask or imagine.
Happy St. Joseph's Day