Saturday, 19 March 2022 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this day we celebrate the great Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this great St. Joseph’s day, we celebrate this wonderful man of God who had so faithfully dedicated his whole life to God’s service, and who had shown us what it means for us to be disciples and followers of the Lord, by our faith and actions. As the Spouse of Mary, the Mother of God, St. Joseph was also the Foster-Father of the Lord, as although he was not the biological father of the Lord, but he was His legal father, through his marriage to Mary, our Lord’s Mother.

St. Joseph dedicated his life to the Lord and to do His will. He has always lived virtuously and honourably, a model Christian in all things. Although he was just merely a humble carpenter of a small village at the periphery of the Jewish world at that time, St. Joseph was indeed a great man, one whom God had chosen to be the instrument through whom He would enter into the world and perform His works. St. Joseph was also the upright and courageous man who have always shown love for both God and for his fellow men.

St. Joseph whose feast we celebrate today is the great Protector of the Church and all of us Christians just as he is the loyal, committed and faithful Protector of the Holy Family. And we remember all that he had done in caring for the Holy Family, that is first and foremost in how he laboured hard to protect the vulnerable Child Jesus from the hands of His enemies, all those who sought for His death. He protected Jesus and Mary from harm even before Jesus was born, caring for Mary and helping her to find a lodging as she and St. Joseph made their way down to Bethlehem for the census of the Emperor Augustus.

And later on St. Joseph brought Mary and Jesus to Egypt fleeing from the hands of King Herod, who wanted the Child Jesus to be killed, as the former saw the Lord as a threat and rival to his power. St. Joseph followed the word and advice of the Angel of God who told him to bring his family out to Egypt. He cared for them there and brought Mary and Jesus back to Nazareth after the enemies of the Lord had passed on. He was truly a great father and a righteous man, dedicating himself and his life to the mission that has been entrusted to him. He might be just a mere lowly carpenter often looked down by everyone else, but his virtues and greatness far surpassed anything else.

Through St. Joseph, Our Lord Jesus was born legally as the Heir and Son of David, as according to the genealogy that we heard today from the Gospel of St. Matthew, Joseph was the rightful heir of David, born of his line and house, and therefore, just as the Lord promised to David that his rule, house and kingdom would be forever firm, these all were fulfilled in Christ. Through Jesus Christ, God has come into this world, to reign as our King, claiming the Kingship of His forefather David, and reestablish the true Kingdom of God in this world.

But as I have mentioned just earlier, we celebrate the glorious memory of St. Joseph more than just because he was the foster-father of Our Lord and Saviour. It was because of his great virtues and righteousness that we rejoice to have such a great role model and inspiration in our own lives. St. Joseph is that great example whom we can follow in our own lives, as we look upon him as our guide in our own journey of faith through life towards God. We are constantly reminded that we too have to be righteous, good and committed in our lives, walking with God and helping to guide one another in faith towards Him.

That is why, in this season of Lent, all of us are called to look upon the good examples set by St. Joseph and we are called to emulate him in our own lives, reminding ourselves to be more righteous and just, more committed to follow the Lord by following the examples of St. Joseph, who laboured hard in life with honesty and justice, not minding his own personal desires, ambition, ego or greed. He placed God above all else and the mission that He has entrusted to him, he has carried out with patience and virtue all the same.

All of us must remember that as Christians we have to exhibit these virtues in life, in our every moments and actions, in whatever we say and do. Let us really make good use of the time and opportunity afforded to us this Lent for us to rediscover our faith in God, reconnect our lives to Him, reorientate our ways, thoughts and all the things we say and do, that all those may come harmoniously along with God and His path. Let us all do our very best and come ever closer to God and His salvation, that we may be filled with His grace and love, at all times.

May God be with us all, and may He empower each and every one of us that we may always walk faithfully in His presence, and may He bless all of our actions and works, and may St. Joseph, the Protector of the Holy Family and the Protector of the Church, intercede for us always, and help us through his inspirations and his prayers, that we may always walk courageously as he himself had done, in the path of his foster Son, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. St. Joseph, holy saint of God, pray for us! Amen.

Saturday, 19 March 2022 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 1 : 16, 18-21, 24a

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah.

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the Angel of the Lord had told him to do.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 41-51a

Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, He went up with them, according to the custom of this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it.

They thought He was in the company, and after walking the whole day they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him, and on the third day they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

His parents were very surprised when they saw Him, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for You.” Then He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand this answer.

Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them.

Saturday, 19 March 2022 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Romans 4 : 13, 16-18, 22

If God promised Abraham, or rather his descendants, that the world would belong to him, this was not because of his obeying the Law, but because he was just and a friend of God through faith.

For that reason, faith is the way and all is given by grace; and the promises of Abraham are fulfilled for all his descendants, not only for his children according to the Law, but also for all the others who have believed.

Abraham is the father of all of us, as it is written : I will make you father of many nations. He is our father in the eyes of Him Who gives life to the dead, and calls into existence what does not yet exist, for this is the God in Whom he believed. Abraham believed and hoped against all expectation, thus becoming father of many nations, as he had been told : See how many will be your descendants.

This was taken into account for him to attain righteousness.

Saturday, 19 March 2022 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29

I will sing forever, o Lord, of Your love and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

You said, “I have made a covenant with David, My chosen one; I have made a pledge to My servant. I establish his descendants forever; I build his throne for all generations.”

“He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’ I will keep My covenant firm forever, and My love for him will endure.

Saturday, 19 March 2022 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Samuel 7 : 4-5a, 12-14a, 16

But that very night, YHVH’s word came to Nathan, “Go and tell My servant David, this is what YHVH says : When the time comes for you to rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your son after you, the one born of you and I will make his reign secure. He shall build a house for My Name and I will firmly establish his kingship forever. I will be a Father to him and he shall be My son.”

“Your house and your reign shall last forever before Me, and your throne shall be forever firm.”

Monday, 19 March 2018 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together as the whole Church, the great Solemnity of the Protector of the Church, Foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that is St. Joseph, the husband of Mary, Mother of God and Our Lord. The Church places St. Joseph in a very honourable place because of his closeness to Our Lord Jesus, as the foster father who protected and guided Him in His early years of earthly life, and also because of his righteousness and faith in God.

St. Joseph was the crucial link between God and His long awaited promise to Adam, Abraham, David and all those to whom He has made His Covenants with. First of all, St. Joseph was the legal father of Our Lord even though he was not His biological father, as the Lord was incarnate by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, His mother and not conceived by earthly means unlike that of any other men. Through that legal fatherhood, Jesus Our Lord and Saviour became a descendant of Adam, Abraham, David and all mentioned earlier.

In our first reading today we heard about the exchange between the prophet Nathan and king David, who spoke about the building of the Temple of God in Jerusalem. If we read through the book of the prophet Samuel and the book of Kings we will realise that David had really wanted to build a House for God, and made lots of preparation for it. But God told him that it was not him who would build a House for him, but his son.

In this, we can see two interpretations of what God told to David through His prophet Nathan. The first one is the literal one, meaning that the son of David, king Solomon would be the one to build a magnificent Temple worthy of God, and which was indeed henceforth remembered after him as Solomon’s Temple. But there is a second, parallel meaning that if we read the entirety of the Old and the New Testament, then we will understand it better.

What is this, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is the Lord Jesus, Who was born as the legal Son of St. Joseph, who himself was the legal heir and descendant of David. As such, that was why Our Lord Jesus was also known as the Son of David. When a blind man heard that Jesus was approaching in one of the Gospel accounts, he shouted, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ highlighting this relationship that Our Lord has with His ancestor David, the king of Israel.

And if Solomon built the physical Temple of Jerusalem, the first Temple built in the honour of God and known by many as Solomon’s Temple, then the Lord Jesus came into this world as the Temple itself, for He is indeed Man and God, having human and divine natures united in His person. He spoke of this when He told the chief priests and the Pharisees that He would tear down the Temple and in three days, He would rebuild it again, which alluded to His crucifixion, death and resurrection from the dead.

So, brothers and sisters in Christ, through St. Joseph, we see there is a clear link between what God had promised to His people in the ages past, and what He has fulfilled through Jesus Christ His Son, Whom He had sent into the world for our salvation, by His death and resurrection from the dead. Through His suffering and death, He fulfilled the promises He made to us from long ago, that He would save us from our sins, and we will enjoy forever the grace of His blessings and love.

And how did St. Joseph fit in all these? St. Joseph, just as Mary is, is a role model for all of us Christians, through his exemplary lifestyle and commitment to the mission he was entrusted with by God. St. Joseph was an upright man and a steadfast believer in God, and he acted with justice and with faith, even treating Mary fairly when she apparently became pregnant before she was married to him. He did not want to disgrace her by divorcing her publicly.

But the Lord revealed to him that Mary’s pregnancy was part of God’s greater plan, the long awaited salvation of all mankind, that St. Joseph would play a big part in. St. Joseph trusted in God and followed whatever he was told to do, protecting Mary and the baby Jesus during the earliest days of His infancy, and bringing them both to Egypt when king Herod wanted to have the Baby Jesus killed.

Even though it was not mentioned explicitly in the Gospels, St. Joseph must have had a significant role in the upbringing of the young Jesus, as He grew up to be a fine and healthy adulthood, by teaching Him many crafts of the world. It was indeed possible that Jesus was a carpenter like His foster father, St. Joseph, or at least have learnt the craftsmanship of a carpenter from him.

All of these tell us that as Christians we should devote ourselves and live our lives much as St. Joseph has lived his. We should be upright in our dealings and in our actions, and put God first and foremost in our minds and in our hearts. Unfortunately many of us Christians do not live by this standard, and instead, we take part in selfish attitudes such as gossiping, plotting against one another and being conceited, above all other things. It is even often that we Christians have done all sorts of actions unbecoming of us as those who profess to be faithful to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are called to reflect on our own lives, and on all that we have done in our lives. Have we been faithful to the Lord in our actions and deeds? If we have not done so, then perhaps it is indeed time for us to change ourselves, by turning ourselves from our sins and wicked actions, and by spending more time with God, in prayer and in loving devotion.

And we are also called to do what we can to help our brothers and sisters, by being charitable and caring for those who are suffering and those who have no one to love them and to care for them. This is our calling as Christians, following in the footsteps of God’s saints, particularly that of St. Joseph. After all, God has loved us first, and He loved us so much that He sent us Jesus, His own beloved Son. Why can’t we love Him in the same manner, and why can’t we love one another in the same way?

Let us ask St. Joseph for his intercession, that he will always intercede and pray for us, and for the sake of God’s Church. Just as he had been entrusted with the care of the Lord Jesus in His youth and the Holy Family, let us ask him for his protection and prayers, that each and every one of us Christians may be able to draw ever closer to God, and therefore find our way to His salvation. May the Lord bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 19 March 2018 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 1 : 16, 18-21, 24a

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah.

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the Angel of the Lord had told him to do.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 41-51a

Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, He went up with them, according to the custom of this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know it.

They thought He was in the company, and after walking the whole day they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him, and on the third day they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

His parents were very surprised when they saw Him, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for You.” Then He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand this answer.

Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them.

Monday, 19 March 2018 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Romans 4 : 13, 16-18, 22

If God promised Abraham, or rather his descendants, that the world would belong to him, this was not because of his obeying the Law, but because he was just and a friend of God through faith.

For that reason, faith is the way and all is given by grace; and the promises of Abraham are fulfilled for all his descendants, not only for his children according to the Law, but also for all the others who have believed.

Abraham is the father of all of us, as it is written : I will make you father of many nations. He is our father in the eyes of Him Who gives life to the dead, and calls into existence what does not yet exist, for this is the God in Whom he believed. Abraham believed and hoped against all expectation, thus becoming father of many nations, as he had been told : See how many will be your descendants.

This was taken into account for him to attain righteousness.

Monday, 19 March 2018 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29

I will sing forever, o Lord, of Your love and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

You said, “I have made a covenant with David, My chosen one; I have made a pledge to My servant. I establish his descendants forever; I build his throne for all generations.”

“He will call on Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’ I will keep My covenant firm forever, and My love for him will endure.

Monday, 19 March 2018 : Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Samuel 7 : 4-5a, 12-14a, 16

But that very night, YHVH’s word came to Nathan, “Go and tell My servant David, this is what YHVH says : When the time comes for you to rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your son after you, the one born of you and I will make his reign secure. He shall build a house for My Name and I will firmly establish his kingship forever. I will be a Father to him and he shall be My son.”

“Your house and your reign shall last forever before Me, and your throne shall be forever firm.”