(Matthew 1:18-24) St. Joseph was the only member of the Holy Family who wasn’t free of sin, yet he must have been an extraordinary man. After all, God did choose him to be the husband and protector of Mary and Jesus! But being chosen by God is not without its challenges. If it hadn’t been for the visit of an angel, the story of Joseph and Mary might have turned out differently. Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment. If an angel had appeared to you in a dream and told you that the woman to whom you were to be married was expecting a baby conceived by the Holy Spirit, how would you react? Would you be ready to accept your role in God’s plan of salvation? Joseph never questioned God or hesitated for a second. As soon as he awoke from his dream, he immediately did exactly as the angel had commanded. Joseph took Mary as his wife and refrained from having any marital relations with her, thereby protecting her virginity. And when the baby was born, he named him “Jesus.” Through his obedience, Joseph established his paternal role and helped fulfill the prophecy that Jesus would be born of the House of David. Because of Joseph, Jesus grew up in a safe and loving home. Because of Joseph, Jesus had a father who was a model of faith and virtue. Joseph – like his ancestor, David – was truly a man after God’s heart.
In playing His part in God’s redeeming work, Joseph – the “just” man – thus models the response that each one of us should give to Jesus: one of perfect trust, obedience, faith, and hope. We can strive to imitate Joseph’s example by seeking God’s will in our lives and by lovingly embracing whatever that may be. Through our unique vocations, God invites each one of us to play our own part in His plan of salvation: to provide a safe and loving home for Jesus in our hearts as we await the fulfillment of the promise of His return.
– Sharon van der Sloot
Prayer To Know One’s Vocation
Lord, my God and my loving Father, you have made me to know you, to love you, to serve you, and thereby to find and to fulfill my deepest longings. I know that you are in all things, and that every path can lead me to you. But of them all, there is one especially by which you want me to come to you. Since I will do what you want of me, I pray you, send your Holy Spirit to me: into my mind, to show me what you want of me; into my heart, to give me the determination to do it, and to do it with all my love, with all my mind, and with all of my strength right to the end. Jesus, I trust in you. Amen1
1 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Prayer To Know One’s Vocation,” Internet; available from http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers/prayer-to-know-ones-vocation.cfm; accessed 14 December 2013.