Fourth Sunday of Advent Reflection
WE NEED A LITTLE JOSEPH
Written by Anne-Louise DePalo
I have always had a love for Saint Joseph and he was a big part of my life. Whenever I read or hear his name, I am brought back to Saint Joseph’s Day when I was a child. I can taste the zeppolas, sfinge, and smell the gravy and meatballs which filled our home with a mouthwatering aroma waiting for the family to gather and celebrate. My Dad was a Joseph and we carried on the tradition of celebrating his name day. I attended Saint Joseph Hill Academy for 13 years. I treasure a prayer card from Sister Josita which has a picture of the statute of Saint Joseph that graces the hill of Saint Joseph Hill; there is a line in the prayer which I pray daily, which particularly captures my imagination. “St. Joseph, Daring Dreamer teach us to listen and trust in our dreams.”
We meet Joseph today in Matthew’s Gospel. Joseph is referred to as “a righteous man,” Matthew 1:19. This is a word we rarely hear in our world today. Righteous is defined as the quality of being morally right or justifiable. What makes someone righteous? One need only look at Joseph’s life and actions. In the deeper spiritual meaning, righteous is the quality of being right in the eyes of God, including character (nature), conscious (attitude), conduct (action), and command (word). Saint Joseph embodies these qualities as follows:
- Obedience. Doing what is expected and conforming yourself to God’s will. Joseph did what he was commanded to do. (Matthew 1:24)
- Kindness and compassion. He did not want to hurt Mary in any way and was concerned for what would happen to her if he divorced her; and yet he wanted to do the right thing. There are two schools of thought on this part of the Gospel and Joseph’s motivation. One is that he knew that Mary was with child and knew that the child was not his. The other is he knew Mary was to be the mother of the Messiah, and he did not feel worthy to marry her and be a father to Jesus.
- Humility. Joseph never said a word in scripture, and he put Mary and Christ needs before his own. He was a good and faithful husband and father.
- Trust. Joseph trusted in his dreams and overcame any fear to live them. Joseph had a dream of what his life with Mary would be like and though it was different than he expected, he held on to it and conformed his dreams to God’s will. After his dream when he was visited by the Angel. Joseph not only believed but embraced his role as Jesus’ earthly father.
Joseph lived his life in Christ’s presence. Let us follow Joseph as we prepare for Christmas. Let us be joyful and recognize Emmanuel, God is with us
Just as we need a little Christmas, we also need a little Joseph to help us bring Jesus into our homes, our lives, and to others.