Today's Gospel: Matt. 1:16, 18-21, 24A - Solemnity of St. Joseph
When I volunteered to write a reflection for CatholicMom.com, I wondered if I might be just a little out of my element. What could I possibly say? And when I opened my assignment, I was reminded once again to trust in the Holy Spirit. I’ve been in love with Joseph as a model of commitment ever since we used a novena to him to prepare for a retreat several years ago.
At the installation Mass of the Bishop of Rome on St. Joseph’s feast day, Pope Francis posed the question: “How does Joseph respond to his calling to be protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church?” The newly installed Holy Father offered his own response: “By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply his own.”
Two very significant messages can be gleaned here. First, Joseph sets aside his pride. His first thoughts are to protect Mary, who had just given him some gut-wrenching news. His betrothed is pregnant!
As husbands and wives, we often let our pride stand between us and the unconditional love that we promised to give. Our society often tells us that fidelity is not valued, giving us the idea it’s OK to end a marriage if we’re not happy or if the day-to-day becomes a struggle.
And here, Joseph models commitment for us very humbly, yet with great strength: We must commit to love and mercy above all else. Joseph has even more to teach us from his quiet action.
The second lesson Joseph teaches us in today’s Gospel reading is obedience. Even knowing that choosing to stay with Mary would subject both of them and their unborn child to considerable hardship, Joseph obeys the Lord. Other figures in the Bible have asked for more than one sign, more than one voice in a dream. But that is not the way of Joseph. He didn’t ask again—nor did he ask for more time to discern. Joseph unselfishly obeyed the Lord’s command. This truly righteous man placed his trust in God, taking what had to be a tremendous leap.
Is there something you might do today to let your spouse know that you love him/her unconditionally?
Look for some moment when you might be tempted to let your pride win. Can you find a way to put your spouse first?
Loving God, thank you for your humble servant, Joseph, and the lessons you give us through him. We take comfort in knowing that the challenges we face are small in comparison to the gifts you have in store for us when we choose to follow you. Amen
Copyright 2016 Ray Taylor
Ray Taylor converted to Catholicism in 2005. Since then he has been on a journey to deepen his faith through particpation in small groups and retreats. Ray is a member of the leadership team for the Men's Spirituality Group and an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist at his parish, St. Brigid of Kildare in Dublin, Ohio. He is also the director of sales and marketing for Franciscan Media and St Anthony Messenger Magazine.