Robyn Kenney shares a meditation on the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary as part of our "Go to Joseph" series for the Month of the Rosary.
When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple as a young infant, did they fully understand who He would be, and what He would do for the world?
Joseph and Mary are an inspiration to young couples, one of following God’s plan and being faithful to one another. And they did so in a bit of an abyss, compared to how connected we are to information and travel in the modern world. They trusted the words of an angel, their faith in something new and often unseen. They didn’t know the word "Catholic," and yet they mark the beginning of our faith.
In Luke’s Gospel, we learn that the young couple was amazed by Simeon’s words in the Temple, only alluding to the wonders that their newborn Son would do for humanity.
It is a test of faith, intellectually, to imagine a world before the birth of Jesus and a world after the Presentation. To wrap your mind around the idea of seeing a newborn baby and believing that He would save the world and heal the nations. Did Simeon know how it would happen? Most likely not; but he believed the child before him was the Savior. And so did Joseph and Mary.
That speaks to something very interesting – a deep desire to be saved in the hearts and minds of those involved in the Presentation. Just as we look at the news today and wonder, "how do so many bad things happen?", Simeon, Joseph, and Mary knew very well the violent threats and human indecency that polluted their cities and towns.
Bishop Fulton Sheen once said:
Our nation is too full of those that are crying "down." Down with the Universities, down with schools, down with the churches, down with teachers, down with government, down with the police. Can you build anything down? You cannot. Certainly time in our nation to change our words. Let’s begin now to use the word "up." Up from all of this filth, up from this violence, up from this indifference of court. Up! Up, to the battlements of eternity. Up, up to God.
Today, millions of people turn to Jesus when faced with various complexities and disenchantments. But millions also worship things that only serve their own ego. We have so much dysfunction still, all around us.
The birth and Presentation of Jesus marks a shift in a religious practice from the worshiper offering sacrifices which could never repay the infinite debt of sin, as Mary would have brought two doves or pigeons with her to the Temple; to a religion that recognizes the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, who, because He is God, can pay an infinite debt by offering Himself – and we are asked to love Him, and to let Him love us, to adore Him, and to go to Him. This is our own participation in His sacrifice. To look, "up" to God, as Bishop Sheen says, rather than down. To look to Jesus, rather than our neighbor, to learn how to live. And yet, to love our neighbor as ourselves.
As we go to Jesus, we are also given the gift of going to the saints. We can go to Joseph for help with anything. He, of all people, knows what it feels like to be misunderstood. Joseph was a shining example of how a man should treat a woman. Men will benefit in seeking his help when learning how to be a father and a husband. Women will realize their worth when they pray to Joseph about relationships.
The Presentation in the Temple is the very precious, divine, beginning, of an uprising of hope that led to the salvation of mankind. In the old world, before the birth of Jesus, there was punishment and a debt that we could not pay. In the new world, there is a Savior who takes on that punishment for us and offers us forgiveness, as long as we are willing to trust in Him.
For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17)
Let us remember the child Jesus, and pray to love Him as much as Joseph and Mary loved Him – before anyone but God Himself knew exactly how His Son would save the world.
This article is part of the "Through the Eyes of Saint Joseph" series for the Month of the Rosary.
Pope Francis offered the faithful his Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart.) to enlighten us during this special year of Saint Joseph.
This October, the Month of the Rosary, “Go to Joseph.” Grow in the faith with your family. “Be about the Father’s business.” (see Luke 2:49)
Joseph is our inspiration throughout the month of October, we will be reflecting, praying, and encountering The Mysteries of the Rosary through the eyes of St. Joseph.
Copyright 2021 Robyn Kelley
Images copyright 2021 Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Robyn Kenney is a writer from Boston, MA, and is the Public Relations & Communications Specialist for Holy Cross Family Ministries. She is a graduate of Mount Ida College, in Newton, MA, with a B.A. in English and a focus in American Literature. Robyn has a background in videography and new media, and she is passionate about her faith, as well as her work in communications.