Saturday, March 19, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 19, 2011 (Saturday of the First Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Saturday, March 19, 2011.

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Looking at the readings for today's feast day, the feast day of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, we find the first reading from Second Samuel very important because it can be seen as the beginning of the expectation of the Messiah coming from the house, or line, of David.

God promises David that he will be his house from which the king, the Messiah, will come. For Christians Jesus is that Messiah who was promised long ago. St. Joseph is a key player in all of this because he is the one who is from the house of David. It is Joseph, and not Mary, who will provide the necessary link for Jesus to fulfill the promise made to David centuries earlier. He will do this through adoption which was legal and fitting.

There is very little information about Joseph in the Gospels. Matthew makes him the key character in his infancy narrative, but he appears no where else in the Gospel. Matthew portrays him as a just and wise  person who, through dreams, is able to guide the course of the early events that dramatically unfold around Jesus, Mary and himself. It is when Joseph is told that he should not dismiss Mary because she is pregnant, but rather take her into his home, that the house of David officially becomes available to the child that will be born. With this, Joseph has fulfilled his key role in God's plan of salvation; nothing more need be said of him.

A presence and only a few words is not a sign diminishment or unimportance. Joseph's role is key and he fulfills it perfectly. And the church today honors this great man who was so important in the life of Jesus and Mary and, hopefully, as important in our lives also. He prays for us, he gives us an example of one who faithfully fulfills God's will for him and who was open to God, leading him in directions that perhaps he had no idea that he was supposed to go. Joseph was obedient and just. May we, too, be obedient to God's will and just in all our dealings.

St. Joseph is the patron saint of happy death. Obviously, because it is believed that Jesus and Mary were with him when he was dying, and we hope that Joseph, Mary and Jesus will be with us also when our time comes to leave this world.

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