Commentary on the Gospel of
Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St Joseph models reverential fear for us
Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24a
Mary was betrothed to Joseph
She was found with child through the Holy Spirit
He did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
Today’s gospel passage gives a sketchy background of Joseph, the husband of Mary. He is from the lineage of the house of David to whom the Messiah was promised. As the tradition would have it, he was in legal relationship with Mary in view of marriage. Indeed, he is not one of the good for nothing young men who hang around aimlessly! He is responsible and embarks on a life-long intimate relationship with his future wife: Mary was betrothed to Joseph.
Now there comes an upset: ‘she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.’ Herein is Joseph’s ‘litmus test!’ How does the Christian respond to unclear divine intervention? Joseph models ‘reverential fear’ for us. He embarks on discernment. Of discernment, Peter authoritatively asserts: ‘we and the Holy Spirit.’ Indeed, the process of discernment involves exploring the reality on ground under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, patience is key to meaningful discernment for it means attentive listening to what the Spirit says without imposing oneself.
Beloved in the Lord, we notice that St. Joseph meekly, modestly, gently models for us: patiently he discerns by actively listening to the prompts of the Spirit of God. And, God in His infinite wisdom chooses how to communicate with each one of us. Through his angel, he unveils his redemptive message to St. Joseph in a dream. God still does the same with each of us, we only need to provide a conducive environment; like St. Joseph, to welcome God’s intervention in our lives especially when our spiritual journey turns stormy. Let’s learn to calm down, create quality moment with the Lord, listen to Him and yield to His transforming touch.
As husband of Mary, St. Joseph models ‘reassuring presence’ to the husbands, and indeed to all of us. From the moment he discerned the divine intervention in Mary’s life-journey, he accompanied her whole-heartedly. He safe-guarded her to Bethlehem where she delivered; shielded her and the baby Jesus from the death-threat of king Herod. Furthermore, in a teamwork with his beloved wife, they nurtured the infant Jesus in the direction of divine worship – they took him to the temple both for presentation and at the age of twelve. Parents, especially the fathers, are encouraged to keep the light of their spiritual leadership aglow to the delight of the younger ones.
Oh God, through the intercessions of St. Joseph, renew your grace of docility to the actions of the Holy Spirit in each one of us, amen.