Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A righteous man

     This reflection is a day late, but hopefully not a dollar short.
      Having grown up in a parish dedicated to Saint Joseph and in a Church that sees him as her patron, I wanted to share this reflection, even though I did not "get it in" in time.

     Saint Joseph is known to be a righteous man, and the readings for his feast presented us with others who share that distinction.  David  in Second Samuel is assured by Nathan the prophet that he has found favor with God, despite his weakness and his great sin.  He was chosen and anointed by God to be a great leader of the people, and even though he sinned by taking the wife and the life of Uriah, his repentance was sincere.  God knew his heart, and knew that he was a righteous man, dedicated to God.  God promised that his line would be long and bring forth greatness, that his son would build a great temple for God (even though David himself desired that honor - there are consequences to our actions), and that his throne would stand firm forever.  Jesus, of course, is from David's line, through Mary and Joseph, and he is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

     Before him, Abraham was considered by God to be a righteous man with a righteousness that comes from faith, as Paul reminds us in Romans.  His trust in God's invitation to covenant and his reliance upon God's promise of descendants is well known, as is his impatience at the fulfillment of that promise.  The difficulty with Ishmael and Isaac is a result of that impatience, and yet blessings come from both, because God saw into Abraham's heart and knew that heart.  Abraham became the Father of three great faiths.

     And of course Joseph, a quiet and simple man of faith, a man of hard work and deep love, found that God had chosen him for an important task.  And even though he did not understand nor initially feel comfortable with what God was placing before him, he trusted and accepted.  His righteousness stands forth not with pride but with humility.  God knew his heart, and in that heart found the love of a good man for a woman that God had chosen for a great purpose.  He accepted her and her son, born of God, to love and cherish, to honor and respect, to protect.  As Pope Francis mentioned in his homily yesterday, Joseph is the patron of the Church and a model to her of the protection we can and must provide to all that the Lord places under our care.

     Great Saint Joseph, the righteous one, pray for us!

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