Posted by: livingscripture | December 18, 2014

THIRD THURSDAY of ADVENT

From the Word of the Day

“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.”

(Matthew 1: 19-21)

How should we live this Word Fwpainti[1]

Christmas is near.  Today’s Gospel places before us as an example of preparation for the great event, the splendid figure of Joseph, Mary’s husband.  The Gospel describes him as a righteous man.  In biblical terms of Old Testament spirituality, righteous means a person who is constantly conformed to God’s will, whatever it may cost.  In this dramatic and mysterious situation, Joseph never utters a word, which is the sign of a deep interior life and total confidence in God’s plan.  The Baby that had blossomed in the virginal womb of Mary, his wife, came from elsewhere and had need of Mary to be born.  He needed Joseph in order to live and grow.  Joseph understood in the Spirit, that behind this marvelous plan of God, there was a mysterious call for him as well, and now he had to freely consent to it.  He was not being asked to love Mary less, but to love her more, with a silent love that was not invasive in order to leave the field free for mysterious transcendent Love.

Thus Joseph learns to be a father through a new kind of paternity that keeps him in the shadows.  From the first moment of the Baby’s conception, and above all when according to the Law, he must give Him a name, he will feel in the depths of his heart that the child was not his, that He would never remain with him, but that He would have to be occupied with His Father’s business.  Thus Joseph was a substitute father, a vicar who had to keep self respectfully in the background.  Is there another truer love on earth, different, that allows the loved person to be autonomous in order to adore the mystery of God indwelling in Him?

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will ponder the great humility, generosity, faith, and love of Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, and ask him to help me love as he did. 

O Lord, help me to follow in Joseph’s footsteps, the Righteous man, who adored and served silently.

The voice of the Preface from the Solemnity of St. Joesph

St. Joseph, the righteous man, was chosen as the husband of Mary, the Virgin and the Mother of God.  Wise and faithful servant, he was placed as head of the family to guard as a father, Your only Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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