Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
During Advent, there is much focus on Mary and all that her “yes” prepared the way for. Today’s Gospel gives us another person who also says yes to God, St. Joseph. We have no record of anything Joseph ever said in the Scriptures, but we come to know him through his actions. He is a carpenter, an ordinary man, who desired to live out his faith as a good Jewish man of his time. We know he is a “righteous man” who wishes Mary no harm when her pregnancy is revealed. He trusts God enough to believe what he is told in a dream, and is willing to raise the child. I imagine him waking up from this dream, blowing out a deep breath and saying “ok, here we go.”
Joseph does whatever is in his power to care for the new life with which he is entrusted. He likely has all the doubts and uncertainties of any new parent, compounded by the knowledge that he is helping to raise the Messiah. Talk about pressure!
Joseph was willing to give up the life he expected to have in order to respond “yes” to God’s invitation to him. When God invites us to something new, are we willing to let go of our own expectations and say “yes”?
O glorious St. Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the benign heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly for the grace of a happy death and the special favor we now request. (mention your request)
O guardian of the Word Incarnate, we feel animated with confidence that your prayers in our behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.
O glorious St. Joseph, through the love you bear to Jesus Christ and for the glory of His name, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions.
—Novena to St. Joseph
Please share the Good Word with your friends!