Friday, 19 March 2021 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. As St. Joseph is the legal wife of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, hence, he was also the foster-father of the Lord. He is the head of the Holy Family and its Protector, especially in his role protecting Mary and Jesus when the Child Jesus was under threat from those who sought to have Him killed.

St. Joseph was himself a descendant of king David of Israel, a fact that is highlighted very strongly in today’s Scripture passages. In our first reading today we heard of the Lord speaking to king David through His prophet Nathan, reassuring David that because of his faith and dedication, God would make his reign secure and his dynasty a lasting one, as a Covenant and promise that He made with him. And this would come true with the coming of the Lord Jesus, Who was born the legal Son of St. Joseph, the Heir of David.

According to the genealogy of the Lord, as contained in the Gospel of St. Matthew, it was evident that He was descended through St. Joseph from the mainline descent from king David, through the kings of Israel and Judah, right up to the exile to Babylon and henceforth, the heirs of the fallen kingdom, to St. Joseph himself. As the legal father of the Lord, he established that link between king David and the Lord Jesus, Who was therefore the Son and Heir of David, the rightful ruler of the kingdom of Israel.

Mary herself, according to the other genealogy, was descended from David through a different lineage, which made the Lord Jesus Himself also descended through His mother, from king David for those who argued that St. Joseph was merely the foster-father and not the biological father of the Lord, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. It was then the union between Mary and St. Joseph that firmed up that link, as we then heard in our Gospel passage today, that St. Joseph initially had his doubts when he heard that Mary had been with a Child even when they had not yet been together in marriage.

But the Lord revealed to St. Joseph that everything had happened according to His will, and it was by His will that Mary was with Child, and not because Mary had committed adultery with another man. St. Joseph had always been a virtuous and upright man, that even when he was in doubt of what happened to Mary, he did not want to drag the case to the open, as that would have meant that Mary could have been stoned to death as an adulterer according to the punishment by the Law.

Nonetheless, St. Joseph committed himself to the cause that the Lord had called him to, embracing fully the mission he had been entrusted with as the head of the Holy Family, foster-father of the Saviour of the world, and as the first good role model for our Lord Himself during His formative years, as St. Joseph must have definitely taught the Lord all that He needed to know, in all the skills and experiences of the world and the society, among other things.

Here, St. Joseph was just like his forefathers, Abraham and David, as the latter was pointed out in today’s first reading earlier on his exemplary faith and dedication by which he has served the Lord, and therefore God would secure his reign and that of his house forevermore. While Abraham was mentioned by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Rome, as the father of many nations and as the father of all Christians in faith.

St. Paul in his description of Abraham spoke of a man and servant of God who had been upright, just and dedicated to the Lord in all things, and it was by his virtues and dedication that he had been exalted above all other men, chosen from among the nations to be the progenitor of so many nations and as the forefather of the Israelites, God’s first chosen people. St. Joseph followed in the footsteps of both his predecessors, and through his virtues and faith, became for all of us the role model of Christian faith and living.

In this season of Lent, we have all been called as Christians to follow in the good examples set by St. Joseph, in his virtues and in his dedication to the Lord, in all that he had done in obedience to the Lord and out of love for Him. Are we willing to walk down that same path of faith, brothers and sisters in Christ? Can we commit ourselves to the Lord just as St. Joseph had committed his life and dedicated all that he could to serve Him?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate this great Solemnity of St. Joseph, let us all seek the intercession of this great protector of the Church, and ask him to pray for our sake, for the Church of God facing all sorts of challenges and persecutions. Let us all devote ourselves to the Lord through His role model, St. Joseph as our model and example that through this season and time of Lent we may become ever closer to God and be ever more attuned to His will and His truth.

May God bless us always, and may He always strengthen us, giving us the courage that we need much in order to strive for being ever more faithful amidst the challenges in life, all the temptations and obstacles preventing us from reaching out to God. May the Lord be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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