The Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
From the House of David
First Reading Commentary: 2 Samuel 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16
The LORD said to Nathan, “Go, tell my servant David, ‘When…you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir…I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.’”
The message of this reading is very straight forward. The LORD is saying that Christ, the Son, will be a descendant of David. Why David? Let’s consider three reasons. First, remember that the LORD had promised Abram (Abraham) that he would be a blessing and that the communities of the earth would find blessing in him. This would be because the Son would be a descendant of Abraham.
The second reason is found in the first few words that the LORD spoke, “Go, tell my servant David.” For us, this should be the most important reason. David was not perfect and committed grievous sins. But David was also a servant of the LORD and he was a man of superior faith which he demonstrated in public worship as he gave praise with his dancing and singing.
David’s praise to the LORD was not something that he reserved for the Synagogue. Many of us give praise and we stand up and clap and sing and dance in church but as soon as we leave church, we become different people. We are like chameleons. Not so with David. He gave praise anywhere and at any time because it was in his heart. And that is one of the primary reasons why David, was blessed by the Son being his descendant.
Christ could have been the descendant of anyone in Abrahams’s bloodline and the LORD would have fulfilled His promise to Abraham. This takes us to the third reason, why the LORD chose David. He is another witness to the fact that when we place our faith in God, in spite of our sins, He not only takes care of us—He also rewards us. In other words, David was not punished for his sins but rather, he was rewarded for his faith.
A Righteous Faith
Second Reading Commentary: Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22
Paul reminds us of why the promise was made to Abraham that his descendants would inherit the world. The promise was made because of Abraham’s righteousness which was because of his faith. You could also say that Abraham’s faith made him righteous.
I consider the legacy which God promised Abraham to be the greatest legacy of all time. Even though it was not specifically, mentioned by God when He made His promise to Abraham, the legacy of Abraham includes the coming of Christ.
What kind of legacy are we to have? When we think of the legacy that we might leave behind, we think about worldly things. We think about who will inherit our money and possessions. We think about what people will say about us. We think about those who might remember us. But when we think of our legacy, we do not think about what God has planned for us.
The truth is that each of us has an opportunity to have a legacy as great as Abraham’s. But in, order to realize that opportunity, we have to think outside of the box and forget the world. Our legacy is not of this world. It is in heaven and in, order to achieve its rewards, we must have a righteous faith. This is what Abraham did and that is what St. Paul tells us to do in his letter to the Romans.
A Perfect Father by Faith
Gospel Commentary: Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a
During the time of Mary and Joseph, if a woman was betrothed to a man, she became his wife. If she had relations with another man, it was considered adultery and the punishment was death by stoning. Knowing that he did not have relations with Mary, Joseph thought that she had committed adultery so, he intended to divorce her.
But Joseph was a righteous man and wanted to divorce Mary quietly so that no shame would come to her. What this means is that Joseph obeyed the Mosaic laws but wanted no harm to come to Mary because of his love for her. If Joseph divorced Mary publicly and adultery was proven, Mary would have been stoned.
This presented Joseph with a dilemma, but he was unaware of what had happened so God sent an angel to enlighten Joseph. The angel told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary into his home because Mary had conceived through the Holy Spirit. The angel said, “She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
This was in fulfillment of the prophecy that the Lord had given to Isaiah: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 Joseph knew the prophecy and he knew that the meaning of Immanuel—Emmanuel was: God is with us. So, when Joseph awoke, he took Mary into his home.
It was no accident that God chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary. Not only was he from the house of David, but his faith was also absolute. Can you imagine what Joseph might have done if he had no faith in God? He would have dismissed the dream and divorced Mary without any concern for her demise.
Think about that. The suggestion that Joseph may have done this to Mary has an undertone which suggests that most men would have sought some kind of revenge in today’s world. Sadly, that suggestion is all too true and it goes both ways. The family morals values and ethics which drove Joseph are missing or weak with too many men and women in, today’s society.
But Joseph was also filled with all, of the gifts and virtues of the Holy Spirit. Patience did not allow Joseph to make rash decisions. Knowledge and counsel opened Joseph’s mind. Strength, courage and fortitude allowed Joseph to handle the situation without fear. Awe and wonder or fear of the Lord together with his absolute faith drove Joseph to stay with Mary and take her into his home.
These are the qualities that make Joseph the patron saint of fathers. In today’s world with so many broken families, more men should look to Joseph as an example and for encouragement.
Consider this: If you want to see what a perfect family should look like, take a look at the Holy Family. There you will find the perfect mother and the perfect father. When you look at Mary and Joseph, you will find two people with perfect faith. That is why God, the Father, chose Mary and Joseph to be the parents of Jesus—God the Son.