Today is the “Solemnity of Joseph, Husband of Mary.”
Seven years ago, our country invaded Iraq. Let us pray for our military in hostile territories: Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, and elsewhere unknown. They deserve our respect, as they serve with pride.
We all need to pray for intercession this weekend as our Congress and President or deciding our country’s fate, and our children’s massive debts, in regards to the “Health Care Bill.” They are not considering the vast majority of the citizens NOT wanting the present bill, and thus are not representing the people of the United States as they have all sworn to do.
Today’s reflection is about the time when Jesus was found in the temple teaching, at age 12.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, he can work through anyone.” St. Francis of Assisi
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (NAB Lk 2:46-49)
How mad were Mary and Joseph at Jesus when they found Him in the Temple? Would you have considered this as a teenage act of defiance? This incident from Jesus’ youth is unique in the canonical gospel tradition. With the exception of the “disappearing without telling His parents,” it presents Jesus in the role of the faithful Jewish boy, raised in the traditions of Israel, and fulfilling all that the law requires.
Jesus is halfway from birth to His ministry years in this gospel reading. With this episode, the infancy narrative ends just as it began, in the setting of the Jerusalem temple. There is not any information to speak of from Jesus’ life prior to this event, and there is none after this event, until His public ministry starts. Jesus is still there, but only in the background, and not thought of in a sense. Pitifully, this is exactly how most Christians think of Him today. Jesus is not thought of, or talked too, except in times of need or fear.
Jesus was born a human child to human parents. With this event, Jesus now refers to God as His Father. In a way, He is minimizing His relationship with His ‘earthly’ parents, but never abandons or forgets His earthly Mother and Father. Matter of fact, Mary is with Jesus at just about every significant part of His adult ministry, and continues to be with Jesus in heaven, body and soul, as Queen of the Universe. As an adult, His obedience to his heavenly Father’s took precedence over his ties to his family, but did not negate that relationship.
Can you imagine a twelve-year-old boy not only listening too, but also teaching in the temple? I wonder how charismatic he was, in order to gain the attention of the Rabbi’s there?
“Lord, help me to learn as you taught. Teach me to pray as you prayed. Instruct me on how to live as you lived. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Joseph
Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.
We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55). He wasn’t rich for when 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 (Luke 2:24).
Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph’s genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as “son of David,” a royal title used also for Jesus.
We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. 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 planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).
We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. 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 his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).
We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this 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. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22)
We know Joseph 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. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.
Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus’ public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.
Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus’ public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.
Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.
We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.
There is much we wish we could know about Joseph — where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was — “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:18).
In His Footsteps:
Joseph was foster father to Jesus. There are many children separated from families and parents who need foster parents. Please consider contacting your local Catholic Charities or Division of Family Services about becoming a foster parent.
Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #19:
Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon. Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others. Since they are immersed in the resurrection of Christ, which gives true meaning to Sister Death, let them serenely tend toward the ultimate encounter with the Father.