Of all the things that we hear in this Gospel of Joseph’s Annunciation – one thing that always stands out to me is one very little word. Yet. That’s right – a three-letter word –Yet – listen to that sentence again: Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.
Thanks so much for stopping by to read this, my homily for the SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOSEPH, March 19, 2021, for sharing it on your social media posts and your feedback and comments! For the audio version you can get them at SOUNDCLOUD click HERE or from ITUNES as a podcast HERE. Thanks again… I hope you and yours experience all of God’s blessings today and always! In Christ – Father Jim
There’s a lot packed in there. You have Joseph’s family heritage (being of the lineage of King David); you have religious obligations (Mary’s my betrothed wife and now she’s pregnant, I cannot allow her to enter into my home); you have the cultural circumstances and just petty human stuff (what will the neighbors think or worse, say…) Any and all of those things could have elicited all kinds of emotions, feelings, and responses…
But in that one little word – yet – you hear something else: Joseph’s broken heart. All of those things that were weighing on his mind were all true, legitimate concerns, worries fears. Yet – Joseph loves Mary… Joseph loves God – and so he tries to come up with as best a solution as he can – he will protect her (he is unwilling to exposer her to shame) and will divorce her quietly.
And Yet – God intervenes. As Joseph is brokenhearted that the dream he has of his life with Mary disappeared, it’s in a dream God speaks to Joseph… the angel confirms that yes, all that Mary had told him was indeed true, and the even more beautiful news, that this didn’t exclude Joseph. Joseph too was invited into this plan of salvation. All he needs to do is to listen to God’s invitation, accept it, and trust the angel’s words “do not be afraid.”
God continues to look for cooperation to continue the plan of salvation – that is meant for all humanity. God the Father continues to want His Son, Jesus, to be brought to birth in our day and age through the power of the Holy Spirit – working through the openness on the part of Jesus’ followers here and now.
Sometimes it’s a minor inconvenience – do I help that person out who’s asking for assistance even though I’m very, very busy and have a ton of legitimate things to do.
Sometimes it’s a life-changing decision -where you’re being called to a life-long vocation, or to some act of selfless sacrificial love that will have impacts that have these ripple effects you can’t even see on this side of eternity but are all apart of God’s creative genius… In all of them, there’s that invitation being put out to us… there are calls to put aside our desires; alter our plans; possibly even let go of our very good and attractive dreams to let God’s dream unfold… which Joseph reminds us, doesn’t just use us to accomplish His task… but includes us in an amazing, life-altering, crazy, beautiful ways – if we accept if we trust if we listen to the angel’s words telling us “do not be afraid.”