I know a man, often disregarded by many. He was a just man, even the holy Book affirms this veracity (cf. Matt. 1:19). He was called the Father of Jesus (cf. Mat. 13:55); in other words, the one chosen shadow of God upon earth. The chaste and courageous man, who was not afraid to take the pregnant Virgin as his wife (cf. Mt. 1:20). The privileged man who gave the holy name “Jesus” to the Saviour, eight days after his birth (cf. Lk. 2:21). The diligent and hardworking Carpenter (cf. Mt. 13:55), who trained the “strong hands” of Jesus at the “plane and the lathe”, and handed over the carpentry profession to Him; as such people referred to Jesus as the carpenter (cf. Mk. 6:3); in fact, he is the model of all workers and patron of the unemployed. He was very obedient to the voice of God, and “protected” the life of the child Jesus from the evil of Herod by flying into Egypt (cf. Mt. 2:13). He courageously returned to Nazareth with the child Jesus and Mary after the death of Herod (cf. Mt. 2:19-23). Oh! What a brave man! This is the man whom the Son of God paid obedience to and lived under his authority (cf. Lk. 2:51). At the end of his holy life, tradition had it that he died in the arms of Jesus and Mary prior to the public ministry of Jesus.
His name is Joseph!
If I keep mentioning all the qualities of this quintessential saint, I believe that the “whole world” itself may not be able to contain it.
O, Saint Joseph! If you had done all these (and lots more), why should I not celebrate you? If successful men and women from all walks of life celebrate their parents as the backbone and inspiration behind their successes in life, why then would I not celebrate you as the man who successfully trained the child Jesus by the grace of God? I must be failing in my duties as an Oblate if I do not remember you on this special day and fail to imitate your heroic virtues, for you played a very vital role in the salvation history of man.
In this regard, I celebrate you, o son of David, and husband of Mary, the guardian of the Redeemer. May your good works continue to inspire all workers and families, especially the fathers in their responsibilities as head of the family. May your virtues continue to inspire all those who pattern their lifestyle in imitation of you, especially the Josephite religious congregations; and in particular, the Oblates of St. Joseph.
On this day, we pray you O God, that by reflecting on the life and virtues of St. Joseph, we may come to a full realization of the gospel value, render fitting homage to you, and offer our lives as worthy oblations to your holy service and that of humanity for the glory of your Name. Amen.
Pray for us, o blessed Saint Joseph, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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