“When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him.”

Today we take a detour as we celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a feast widely celebrated the world over.  The gospel reading is from the infancy narrative of Matthew (1:16, 18-21, 24a).  This well-known passage has Joseph finding out that his betrothed, Mary, is pregnant prior to them living together (i.e., having marital relations).  Knowing this, he intends to divorce her quietly, but an angel appears to him in a dream revealing that the child in her womb was miraculously conceived through the Holy Spirit and “will save his people from their sins” (v. 21).   He is instructed to take Mary into his home, and so he does, as stated above.  Joseph’s unhesitating response to the Lord’s will under difficult circumstances is a wonderful example for us today.  While few of us will have visions of angels, or heavenly voices that audibly guide us, we, like Joseph, must maintain a disposition open to the words of God — or maybe better put, the Word of God.   The Church has faithfully passed down this Word and safeguarded it by her teaching for nearly two millennia.  We need to take advantage of learning it, internalizing it, and reflecting on it so we can live it faithfully.  Joseph was entrusted as the caretaker of the Word Made Flesh and His mother.  We too must care for and safeguard the Word in our hearts, in both word and sacrament, so as to live faithfully that calling for which the Lord has made us.

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