Theme of the Feast: Joseph, a Man Enchanted by the Dreams of God. The first reading proclaims an everlasting kingdom and how God has decided to grant it to a “son of David.” The Gospel proclaims the accomplishment of the promise made to David: one of his descendants has fulfilled the words of Nathan beyond all expectations. The second reading speaks of Abraham, the man who placed his trust in God. Like Abraham, Joseph too believed that the dreams of God would be fulfilled. Abraham and Joseph prove that whoever puts their trust in God will never be disappointed.
Preface of St. Joseph.
Foster father of Jesus, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Patron of the universal Church, St Joseph enjoys widespread devotion all over the world, He was chosen to play an important role in the history of salvation and even though the Gospels do not record any word spoken by him, he is revered as a just man, the one who places God at the centre of his life and responds to every situation in obedience to God’s will.
“The Lord G0d will give to him the throne of his father, David” (Lk 1.‘32).
A reading from the second Book of Samuel (2 Samuel 7:4-5a.12—14a. 16)
In those days: The word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever. ”’
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 89:2-3.4-5.27 and 29 (R. 37a)
R/. His descendants shall continue forever.
I will sing forever of your mercies, O Lord;
through all ages my mouth will proclaim your fidelity.
I have declared your mercy is established forever;
your fidelity stands firm as the heavens. R/.
“With my chosen one I have made a covenant;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will establish your descendants forever,
and set up your throne through all ages.” R/.
“He will call out to me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock of my salvation.’
I will keep my faithful love for him always;
with him my covenant shall last.” R/.
“In hope he believed against hope.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans 4: 13.16-18.22)
Brethren: The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. That is why all depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants — not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations” — in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations; as he had been told, “So shall your descendants be.” That is why his faith was “reckoned to him as righteousness.”
The word of the Lord.
Gospel Acclamation Psalm 84:4
Glory and praise to you, O Christ. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, O Lord, ever singing your praise! Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
“Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 1:16.18—21.24a)
Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Whenever we take a closer look at the person of Joseph, the husband of Mary, we soon realize that we tend to take St. Joseph for granted not because we like to ignore him but because we naturally assume Jesus being God deserves all the attention.
There are lot of lessons to learn from this great man, Joseph, some of which we would now try to itemize:
- St. Joseph was a just man.
The Bible refers to Joseph as a just man. This means he was a man of integrity. He was well respected in the community. He had a good name. He was a man of justice. He was not a wayward person and he believed in doing what is right at all times. Can it be said about me that I am a just person? Do I practice selective integrity?
- St. Joseph did not take joy in seeing the Pain of others.
St. Joseph was unwilling to put Mary to shame despite learning of her pregnancy before they came to be together as husband and wife. When I happen to suspect others of doing wrong, what is my immediate reaction? Do I keep things to myself or begin to gossip and announce to others?
- St. Joseph was Obedient to God at his own expense.
We are told that when Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the Angel of the Lord had commanded him. He agreed to play the role of a foster father to the Son of God. This meant that he agreed to live as a celibate for the rest of his life for the sake of Jesus Christ. His own form of celibacy would even be more demanding given that unlike other celibates, he would have to live in the same house with a woman not related to him. Can I make sacrifice for God? Am I only interested in what I can get from God rather than what I should give to God? Am I faithful to the demands of my calling in life? Do I keep my vows and promises to God?
- St. Joseph was a Man of Faith.
It takes great faith to agree to do what Joseph did for Jesus and Mary. Do you notice that God only spoke to him through dreams? Unlike the case of Mary and Zechariah who had an Angel appear to them in broad day, Joseph had to depend on his dreams.
It takes great faith to believe that what we see in our dreams is not simply a figment of our imagination. It takes Faith to believe that a young woman would actually conceive without knowing a man. Do I put a limit in my mind to what God can do? Do I really believe that with God, all things are possible? Am I willing to act based on what God reveals to me daily through my study of the scriptures?