Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph is the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Foster Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
At the beginning of the gospel today, the church inserted Matthew’s account of the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:16) to explain how Jesus proceeds from the line of David through Joseph. Hence reminding us that one of the roles Joseph played is to lawfully insert Jesus Christ into the lineage of David to fulfill the message of the prophets.
Hence, much of what we know of him came from the early narratives of the gospel of Matthew and that of Luke.
The scripture does not say much about him. There is no single word uttered by Joseph that was written in the bible. Everything that we know about him is more of what he did rather than what he said. And all his actions were done for the sake of God and nothing more.
Everything about the life of Saint Joseph is living for God and God alone. “Everything for God” is the best statement to summarize his life.
To Live for God.
To live for someone is when we see someone or something as so important that they are your main reason for living.
It also means to have someone as the most important thing in your life that the person or thing occupies your mind often.
It is when someone is the reason for everything that you do. Therefore, we do everything to make the person happy.
Living for someone also means allowing someone to make your personal decisions. Your life is only to do what pleases the person. To live for God means having God as the most important person in our lives.
It is when we live for the sake of God and to fulfill His will only. In all the life of Saint Joseph, all the things that He did were only to please God and to do His will. Here are a few examples:
1. Joseph has other things he would have done in life rather than moving around with Mary and Jesus. Only that He allowed the will of God to take precedence.
He chose to do what God wants rather than what He wants. We heard he is a carpenter, but there was no place in the bible written where he was doing the carpentry work.
Even when Joseph left for Egypt, he did not think of what could have happened to his profession. He chose God first. But, unlike Saint Joseph, we seem to relegate God to the background today.
2. In the gospel, Saint Joseph decides to divorce the Blessed Virgin Mary quietly. He has made his mind to do it. When the angel advises him in a dream that he should not, Joseph obeys.
Let us not forget that this is just a dream. Joseph can doubt that the experience is a result of Malaria or some psychological problems. But he trusted in the authenticity of the dream, maybe owing to the nature of his experience.
Saint Joseph made up his mind. Because of God, He decided otherwise. But in our time, we seem not to consider what God says. What we want to do is what we must do.
3. When the angel told Saint Joseph to fly to Egypt because Herod intends to kill the child in Matthew 2:13, Joseph did not doubt. He hardly doubts if God says it.
Saint Joseph did not even ask the angel where they are going and how they will fare. He did not care about their feeding in Egypt and the challenges and difficulties they may face. He knows that if God has said, He can as well make other things well.
Wherever and whatever God tells him to do or to go, Joseph never doubted. He is always on the move, for the fact God says. The interest is not in his comfort but to fulfill the will of God. Whenever our lives are for God, we would trust Him to the minutest details despite the challenges.
How to Live for God: Things to Learn from Saint Joseph.
1.Live peacefully with others. To love God is to love others. We lie when we say we love God but live in disunity and working against one another (1 John 4:20). Do not be the first to destroy the image of others. When you hear negative things about someone, do not be out to destroy. The person will appreciate you more if you can correct him.
Joseph thought his wife conceived out of wedlock and wanted to divorce her secretly and protect her from public image assassination. Anyone who truly loves you will not destroy your image no matter what.
2. Always fulfill your obligations in the society, family and the Church.Joseph performed His role well. In the same way, we have to fulfill any obligation God gives us either in the society, church and family. Use your role as a service to God and not to increase your pocket.
Secondly, Joseph is an exemplar of all fathers. He exercised his role as the father of the family. There was no mention of a day we hear that Joseph fought with his wife. The family was peaceful.
Saint Joseph is always at the forefront of protecting his family. That earned him the name of the protector of the Universal Church.
The father of the family should always stand up whenever it comes to his obligation in the family. Do not make your family a war zone.
3. Respect God and respect others. In fact, Nothing makes a couple live a more peaceful life than respect. Joseph respected his wife to the core, and the Blessed Virgin Mary did the same.
When couples respect themselves, peace and progress become their daily bread. The beginning of family disintegration is a lack of respect. In any relationship, whenever the woman or the man begins to disrespect each other, problems accrue.
4. To give God all. Carpenters are always busy people. But despite how busy Joseph would have been, he gave God all.
Today we seem to be busier than God. We are so much more occupied with work than we do to God.
Saint Joseph teaches us that despite however busy we are, we need to give God a chance in our lives. To live for God, He must be part of your life.
5. There are things we always want to do in life, but Saint Joseph teaches us that what God wants to do with us should be the first.
One day a woman asked her daughter to accompany her to visit the orphans at the motherless babies home. The young girl who had an appointment with a friend that day said no to the request. The mother requested her to make out just a little time. The young girl also disagreed.
The mother further requested that she knows she is busy but at least to go with her, and then she can go from there. The young girl disagreed and said;
‘Mother I have a lot of things to do other than this”. The mother left her.
In the same way, God asks us to have moments with Him. We say not to face other appointments. He asks for a little of our time. We also say no.
God also requests that even if it is one minute. What we need to do is to come in and go. Yet we say no and see it as a waste of time. Unlike Saint Joseph, we neglect God but attend any other appointments that we have. If we live for God, He should be part of our daily activities.
May God have mercy on us and give us the grace to live like Saint Joseph. May we live according to His will and not our own will. Amen.