Monday, December 28, 2020

Faith Gives Meaning to Everything

“Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.” Matthew 2:14

I find it quite amazing that in the Bible, a book filled with the exploits of men, there is hardly anything said about Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Only two of the Gospels mention him, Matthew and Luke. 

Ever since Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines, the statue of the sleeping Saint Joseph has been quite popular. Pope Francis revealed that he had one, and that when he had difficulties, he would write them on a piece of paper and ask Saint Joseph to pray with him about it. In his Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis marks the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church by proclaiming December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021, the “Year of Saint Joseph”. 

In the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Saint Joseph gets clear directions from God while he is asleep TWICE! In Matthew 1:20, Joseph is told by an angel in a dream, not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, as the child in her womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit. In chapter 2, verse 13, he is directed by an angel, while dreaming, to flee to Egypt for their safety.

God speaks to us in different ways, but we need discernment to know what comes from Him, and what comes from our own desires. Geza Vermes, a British scholar and noted authority on ancient Aramaic writings on the life of Jesus, stated that the term for "carpenter" and "son of a carpenter", used in the Jewish Talmud, signifies a very learned man.

Learned man or not, what we know is Joseph was kind and compassionate, a man of faith who obeyed God wherever He led. How beautiful to be like St. Joseph, always willing to listen and obey God whether awake or asleep!!! We can imitate St. Joseph who embraced God’s role for him unconditionally, and set aside his own plans and ideas. Like St. Joseph there may be times when we do not understand why we are thrust into situations not of our own making. 

Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter, writes it is as if God were to repeat to us: “Do not be afraid!” because “faith gives meaning to every event, however happy or sad,” and makes us aware that “God can make flowers spring up from stony ground.” St. Joseph “did not look for shortcuts but confronted reality with open eyes and accepted personal responsibility for it.” For this reason, “he encourages us to accept and welcome others as they are, without exception, and to show special concern for the weak”. Yes, Father, teach us to be like St. Joseph! 

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:^) Patsy