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Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary




Gospel Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24a

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.


REFLECTION

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.


What does it mean to "expose her to shame?" Do people experience shame today?


In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary shame is defined as: a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety; or a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute. The third definition given is something that brings censure or reproach.


I volunteered as a counselor at a pregnancy resource center for a while. Young women would come to get a free pregnancy test. After the results were given, we would ask questions and encourage them to have an ultrasound. The questions had to be unjudgemental. Most of the women were scared of what they would say to their family or boyfriends. If the girl was under 18 years she had to have a parent with her. Many of the reactions were anxious, afraid, but there were a few Christian or Catholic girls who seemed ashamed. As years went by there were fewer young women who felt ashamed. Why?


There was a change in how people reacted to unwed mothers after 1970. Contraception was a way to be sexually active without a chance of becoming pregnant. Fewer men would offer to marry their partner than before 1970. Then abortion was considered an option to "get rid" of the pregnancy. There was a dehumanization of the fact that pregnancy meant that there was a human being growing inside the woman. Instead, they (the abortion advocates) said the baby was a blob of cells inside the pregnant woman.


I attended a retreat in 2021, the year dedicated to St. Joseph. It was at this retreat that I learned more about what a manly, man St. Joseph was. "St. Joseph knew in his heart of hearts that Mary and her unborn Baby were innocent but he couldn't comprehend how. So the better path to take was to refrain from condemning and let God be the judge. In fear of God Joseph allows the Lord to have the final word." He didn't think of his pride, but cared for how Mary and the nascent Lord would be treated by the small community.


The Catholic Church honors St. Joseph today. He was a faithful husband, earthly father, and a God-fearing servant of God. He fulfilled God's divine Will. PAPA honors him because we honor and pray for all fathers, God the Father, the Holy Father, all Priests, all fathers, and godfathers. Pray our Consecration to St. Joseph and our PAPA Prayer for Priests.




Resources

Novena to St. Joseph - Meditation and Prayer by Fr. Michael J. Truongluan, C.Ss.R., A.D. 2021




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