FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH 2018 S.Antoinette Munafo
Happy Saint Joseph’s Day!
The Evangelists, Matthew and Luke, tell us of Joseph—but in their accounts, Joseph never speaks. So we must look to his deeds in order to understand some- thing about him.
The picture painted by the Evangelists suggests parallels of our Joseph with the Joseph-of-the-ornamented coat of the Old Testament. Many similarities emerge.
Both Josephs suffered in their youth: Our Joseph from the seeming infidelity of Mary, and the Old Testament Joseph from the treachery and hard-heartedness of his brothers.
The two men were dreamers, which earned the first Joseph the enmity of his siblings, and later, the admiration of his captors for his ability to interpret dreams. St. Joseph became a dreamer as he earnestly sought out the will of God in his life, and direction amid uncertainty.
Both saints listened and displayed exceptional sensitivity and compassion: the Egyptian Joseph in meeting his brothers after years of enslavement and exile; and St. Joseph in his attempts to understand his relationship with Mary and his role in God’s design.
The land of Egypt offered the two Josephs a place of refuge, as well as an opportunity to reflect on God’s workings in their lives.
And both trusted in God despite the hardships they endured.
But differences also surface.
The two were “saviors” of their people in different ways. The Old Testament Joseph provided food in time of famine and became famous for his foresight and stewardship. St. Joseph, as protector of the Holy Family, had a hidden role. His daily tasks did not make him stand out, and his virtues did not attract attention. His fame would come centuries later as devotion to him spread. Joseph’s hidden way would be followed by the daughters of St. Joseph all over the world whose good deeds are often unsung.
Our Gospel for today tells us that after the angel came to him in a dream Joseph “did as the angel of God directed him.” His attentive listening and trust in God’s providence enabled him to fulfill his role. Not only did Joseph dream, he also acted decisively. He listened to Mary and saw her through the birth of Jesus, the presentation in the Temple, the journey to Egypt, and the loss of their Son in Jerusalem. Through everyday deeds and extraordinary ones, Joseph could be counted on. Faith and trust carried him through one step at a time, and the dreams came only in God’s good time.
How attentive are we in seeking God’s will?
How persevering in prayer?
What are God’s dreams for us personally?
What are God’s dreams for our congregation?
Are we attentive listeners, willing to await God’s good time for those dreams to be revealed and to mature?
A short prayer-poem by John Feister* seems an appropriate ending:
Teach us to listen.
Help us to open our hearts,
And at least for now,
To shut our mouths.
Pray for us to see in Jesus
The answer to our questions,
Inspire us, at least for a moment,
To stop doing
And to start being;
To stop talking
And to start listening.
Then let us be sent forth,
As you were,
To serve the Father’s Will
*From Bro. Mickey McGrath’s book, “Go to Joseph.”