The third sorrow and joy of St. Joseph attests to the pain Joseph also experienced when the blood of Jesus was first shed at his circumcision. This is true because witnessing the circumcision of one’s child and the response of the infant to the excruciating pain can cause further discomfort, agony, pain and shock on the part of the parents. In sharing the pain of Christ at his circumcision, Joseph also shared in Christ’s sacrificial suffering. How can we understand this better? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC #515), categorically states: “From the swaddling clothes of his birth to the vinegar of his Passion and the shroud of his Resurrection, everything in Jesus’ life was a sign of his mystery.” In consonance, CCC #517 affirms: “Christ’s whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross, but this mystery is at work throughout Christ’s entire life…” Thus, our redemption already commenced with Christ’s incarnation, birth, circumcision, etc., which reached its culmination in Christ’s death and resurrection. It is pertinent to note that the “saving act” of Christ was demonstrated when Christ first shed His blood at his circumcision (which culminated at his passion, death and resurrection), little wonder he was named Jesus (Saviour) at his circumcision. As a sharer of Christ’s sacrificial pain, today, St. Joseph is sharing in Christ’s glory in heaven.
Dear friends in Christ, before we share in Christ’s glory in heaven, we must also share in His sufferings. Like St. Joseph, we too can share in Christ’s sufferings by contemplating scripturally on them and learning to unite our sufferings with that of Christ. As Pope Saint John Paul II writes: “The very participation in Christ’s suffering finds, in these apostolic expressions, as it were a twofold dimension. If one becomes a sharer in the sufferings of Christ, this happens because Christ has opened his suffering to man, because he himself in his redemptive suffering has become, in a certain sense, a sharer in all human sufferings.” (cf. Salvifici Doloris #20)
Prayer: Almighty God, you gave St. Joseph the privilege of sharing in your son’s sacrificial pain. Grant that by imitating his virtues, we may offer our sufferings and crosses more deeply to you, as a response to the gospel message of Christ. Amen.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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