19 Mar 2019 06:55am IST
Anointed and preserved from all eternity by the Supreme God to accomplish His Plan of Salvation as a co-worker (of the kingdom of God) in redeeming mankind from damnation of sin and shame. In a country which upheld the norm ‘tooth for a tooth and eye for an eye’, God chooses Joseph, son of Jacob, to create history in unknown ways, made known to him alone. The first and second chapters of St Mathew and St. Luke’s Gospel gives us little information about Joseph the just, silent and faithful man.
In today’s era, of the throw away culture, Joseph, the husband of Mary, stands tall as a man who embraced culture of life with fidelity, trust and hope; a man of faith, strong and courageous, if we consider the challenges he overcame and faced trusting in the promise of Abba, our loving Father, the ocean of compassion.
Joseph, if we read in between the lines of the little that is made known; he had held no positions, power, accolades, etc. Seemed like the profession, of Carpentry was considered low. In the gospel of Mathew the skeptical Nazarenes asked about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Mt 13:55). And when they went to Jerusalem, he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb, revealed that he was not rich enough.
Joseph was a compassionate man/father/husband. As when he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He knew women accused of adultery could be stoned to death, so he resolved to send her away quietly to not expose her to shame or cruelty. However, when an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins," he did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. (Mt 1:19-25).
Joseph was a caring father who loved Jesus. His one concern was to guard the child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life.
Joseph was an obedient man and respected God. He followed God's commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus' birth. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with Mary and the baby Jesus.
God has a great plan for everyone whoever we are without distinction. And so, as we journey through Lent – especially when we gather around the Eucharistic table, let us pray to God through St Joseph to guide us and help us to open our hearts to God’s plan. That we may be upright and righteous; and that God may speak to us in our dreams through the angel of God and direct us.