19 Mar – Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Descendant of the house of David. Layman. Builder by trade; traditionally a carpenter, but may have been a stone worker. Earthly spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Foster and adoptive father of Jesus Christ. Visionary who was visited by angels. Noted for his willingness to immediately get up and do what God told him to do.
– The Patron Saint Index
2 Samuel 7:4-5,12-14,16
The word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: “When your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. (It is he who shall build a house for my name, and I will make his royal throne secure for ever.) I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Yet I will not withdraw my favour from him, as I withdrew it from your predecessor. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’
The promise of inheriting the world was not made to Abraham and his descendants on account of any law but on account of the righteousness which consists in faith. That is why what fulfils the promise depends on faith, so that it may be a free gift and be available to all of Abraham’s descendants, not only those who belong to the Law but also those who belong to the faith of Abraham who is the father of all of us. As scripture says: I have made you the ancestor of many nations – Abraham is our father in the eyes of God, in whom he put his faith, and who brings the dead to life and calls into being what does not exist.
Though it seemed Abraham’s hope could not be fulfilled, he hoped and he believed, and through doing so he did become the father of many nations exactly as he had been promised: Your descendants will be as many as the stars. This is the faith that was ‘considered as justifying him.’
Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.
This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do.
He did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do
I have been supporting Liverpool FC since the late 70s and those who follow football (or soccer to some) will know that the club has not won the league title since 1990. After the halcyon decade of the 1980s when the club was winning almost everything in sight, die-hard fans have had to endure constant ribbing from rival supporters. Some of my friends laugh at my ‘blind faith’ to a club who always begins with lots of promise but never delivers. Every year, I tell myself that ‘this will be the year’ and this year is indeed proving to be a potentially pivotal year for the club.
I can only imagine how Joseph must have felt when the angel told him to take the pregnant Mary into his home. It can only have been blind faith that gave Joseph the wherewithal to accept that fact that Mary had conceived Jesus by some miracle. Imagine that happening today. I’m sure any man would demand an ultrasound as proof and perhaps even a DNA test. Yet, Joseph willingly took Mary in and did as he was told.
Faith is a strange thing indeed. I’ve heard many testimonies of how people began their faith journeys back to the Lord after encountering Him or Jesus in a very personal way. With that in mind, I am in awe of those who possess abundant faith but have yet to see or encounter our loving Father. One could say that it is an example of ‘blind faith’ – one that defies explanation or logic. Yet it has to be predicated on a past experience (just as how I experienced the highs of Liverpool’s successes in the 1980s), or a belief in an event that occurred or, in most cases, the testimony of someone who has had a God encounter.
Even at work, some level of faith is required for a leader to delegate a task to a subordinate or for someone to put his/her weight behind a proposal of even a superior. One could argue that these are more calculated risks but even so, making such decisions require a certain level of faith to be present in one’s heart. Such leaps of faith happen almost every day and once a bond is formed between two people, trust begins to develop and grow over time.
In this season of Lent, we typically fast and abstain from certain things or activities as a sacrifice to our Lord. For those of us who have yet to decide on what to give up, perhaps we could look at abstaining from ‘shopping’ or ‘bargaining’ with the Lord. Let us not approach Lent with a calculative heart but one that is filled with faith. To believe that Christ does reside in our hearts and that we should surrender totally to His word without any hint of asking for anything in return. Let us be like Joseph, who willingly and dutifully surrendered to the Lord and accepted Mary into his home without any questions. Let us be blind to reason and deaf to our intellect, and accept that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour who loves us and came to earth to save us from sin.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: We ask you Lord to give us openness of heart to accept your Word and to follow it in true faith and love.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for giving us faith to worship and adore you.