First Reading: Jeremiah 23:5-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus. (Mt 1:18-25)
In all of the gospels, we read about Mary's husband Joseph, but we never hear anything from him. No quotes, no anger or frustration, no canticle, not even a simple yes or no; not a peep. However, even though we do not have a great deal of insight into Saint Joseph through his words, we can tell a lot about this man from the way that we was described and by his actions. Being described as a righteous man, it was clear that Joseph was dedicated and loyal to God, but what really proved this was his obedience. Joseph, having been put in a situation that would be difficult for any man of any time period, found himself looking for answers. The Lord came to him in a dream and told him what it was that the Lord wanted him to do. Now did Joseph complain, question, or talk about the weird dream that he had the night before? Absolutely not, Joseph did exactly as the Lord had told him to do. Joseph didn't need to say anything, for in this instance his actions spoke louder than any words could have.
Each year, I gain a deeper respect and appreciation for Saint Joseph. Especially having a new family myself, I realize that as the man of the house God calls me to two main responsibilities in my family: to provide for and protect. In providing for my family, this is not just mean money, but also means giving of myself with my time and service to my wife and child. I need to not only provide for their physical needs, but also their emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs as well. In protecting my family, I must be on the lookout and always seeking to protect their health and their dignity. I must be fostering an environment where a spiritual life is strongly encouraged to protect us from being distracted in this world. This idea of men as the providers and protectors of their families is not one that should just be embraced by husbands and fathers, but by all men. It is the idea that we really should be seeking to protect the health and dignity of all women, and helping to provide for all those in need. Providing and protecting is one of the ways in which we fulfill our roles as men and truly be obedient to God.
From reading about Saint Joseph, I am very thankful to have this great example of a man who stepped up and fulfilled his responsibility as a man. So many men in this world do not do this, mostly because they never had anyone to show them how to be a husband and a father. Examples of real men may be rare, especially with how our culture likes to portray the stereotypical male. But it is important that we keep focused on what God calls us to be as men in this world, and to look to the examples like Saint Joseph.
May we always remember Joseph's example, that actions sometimes speak louder than words.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with and all that you give us. Lord you are so good to us and more than we ever deserve, help us to live for you and to have a heart that only seeks to be obedient to you in all areas of our life. Lord we pray for all families who are facing financial difficulty during this time. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.