Mar 20 (Solemnity of St Joseph)

St Pope John XXIII is one of the most popular Pope of the 20th century. 

>> He was the one who convoked the historical Vatican Council II, which paved the way for “throwing open the windows of the church, to let the fresh air of the Spirit blow through.”

When he was chosen as pope, John XXIII announced that his motto would be “obedientia et pax,” which is Latin for “obedience and peace.”

>> This was because St Joseph was his favourite saint.
The new Pope sought to follow the path of St Joseph, a model of obedience, because he believed…

… that “obedience to God, to His commandments, His will, and His inspirations, is the highway to true interior peace.”

Today we celebrate the Feast of this Great Model of Obedience – St Joseph.
Traditionally, the feast is celebrated on March 19th.

>> But when it falls on a Sunday, the feast is either anticipated or postponed by one day

(It depends on each Regional Episcopal Conference)

St Joseph with the Infant Jesus, Guido Reni, 1620, Heritage Museum, St Petersburg

What lessons does St Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church teach us?

1. St Joseph was ever attentive and obedient to the voice of God

One of the standout qualities that we observe in St Joseph is his prompt obedience to the voice of God
He listened to the Angel…

… in moments of dilemma, and obediently took Mary as his wife (Mt 1:20-24)

… in moments of danger, and obediently took the Mother and Child to Egypt (Mt 1:13-15)

… in moments of doubt, and obediently settled the Holy Family in Nazareth (Mt 1: 20, 22b)
St Joseph was able to let go of his personal choices and his desired comforts and give top priority to do what God wanted him to do.

St Joseph teaches us that “holiness consists in doing what God wants – when and where He wants.”

2. St Joseph teaches us the love for Jesus and Mary

Ever since he recognised the plan of God in his life, St Joseph displayed unflinched commitment and love to Jesus and Mary
He had many occasions of choices to let go of them…

… to leave Mary when she was found with Child, even before the marriage

… to leave his pregnant Wife when they found no place in the inn

… to abandon the Child and Mother when a life-danger against them was sensed
But, nothing could deter St Joseph from leaving or abandoning them. He knew that in God’s plan, They belonged to him, and he would safeguard them – treasuring Them close to his heart.

>> Our faith has blessed us with love for Jesus and Mother Mary.
St Joseph invites us to also have “Jesus and Mary close to our hearts.”

3. Humility is a virtue radiated by St Joseph

St Joseph had to face many moments of humiliation, disappointment and uncertainty.

>> But in his humility, he remained true to God in all those moments
Life sometimes drags us into situations of sadness and even shame.

>> Many times we let go of God’s Hands, saying that “He is not fair” or “He doesn’t understand me”!
St Joseph teaches us that “there is much value in humbling oneself, before the mighty power of the Almighty.”

4. St Joseph was content to be the “silent worker” in the awesome work of Salvation

St Joseph, was honoured to be sharing the most intimate physical presence with the two holiest persons of this world – Jesus, the Son of God and Mary, the Immaculate Mother.

>> And yet, he contented himself to be the “silent hard-worker”.
He is a mighty challenge to our world, where seeking for honour, position, fame and reputation become cheap motives, in doing works of charity or even, sadly to say, in ministries of the Church.


St Joseph exhorts us to become “a yeast, that works silent wonders, in the history of salvation.”

5. St Joseph is the model of chastity

Mary is the New Ark of Covenant, bearing Divinity in Her.

>> St Jerome, says that St Joseph, the son of David, shared his royal ancestor’s fear of coming into overly close contact with the Tabernacle of the Lord: “Who am I,” asked King David, “that the Ark of the Lord should come to me?” (2 Sam. 6:9)
That is why, St Joseph is often depicted with a White Lily in his hand, to depict purity and holiness
Chastity is the virtue that moderates the desire for sexual pleasure according to the principles of faith and right reason.

>> In married people, chastity moderates the desire in conformity with their state of life

>> In unmarried people who wish to marry, the desire is moderated by abstention or unless they get married

>> In those who resolve not to marry, the desire is sacrificed entirely.
St Joseph teaches us to “preserve the purity of life, and thus be a witness of the Kingdom of God.”

6. St Joseph was prefigured in Joseph of the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, we read Joseph, the son of Jacob, had stored up, in Egypt, grain to provide bread for the preservation of the People of Israel (Gen 42)

>> In the New Testament, St Joseph, safeguarded, in Egypt, the Bread of Life, for the salvation of the People of God. (Mt 1: 14)
St Joseph shows us the way “to be a protector and safeguard to the needy and the distressed.”

7. St Joseph is a model leader

>> True to being a Father, St Joseph displayed many leadership qualities, which needs to be imitated by us, in our practical life

>> Defender of the community/team members: St Joseph preserved Mother Mary from idle talks of gossip and malicious speculation

>> Protection of those in care: St Joseph did not give up in the face of hostile situations, when it was time for the Birth of the Child

>> Needful and prompt action: St Joseph acted quickly and promptly, in response to situations of danger and of need.
St Joseph teaches us “to shoulder up responsibilities, depending solely on the Power and Grace of God”

The solemnity of St Joseph comes us a reminder to us to learn many things from the life of this Great Saint.

>> Let us constantly seek the help of St Joseph, and recognize his loving and fatherly protection in our lives. 

May St Joseph, the model of obedience, help us to choose “obedientia et pax – obedience and peace” as a motto for our lives, so that we may realise…

… … that “obedience to God, to His commandments, His will, and His inspirations, is the highway to true interior peace.”

Happy Feast of St Joseph!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

One thought on “Mar 20 (Solemnity of St Joseph)

  1. Dear and Rev.Fr.Jijo, Happy Feast of St.Joseph. Thank you very much for the inspiring reflections. vimal.ims

    On Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 7:21 PM, Reflection Capsules wrote:

    > [image: Boxbe] This message is eligible > for Automatic Cleanup! ( Add cleanup rule > > | More info > > > Fr Jijo Manjackal MSFS posted: “St Pope John XXIII is one of the most > popular Pope of the 20th century. >> He was the one who convoked the > historical Vatican Council II, which paved the way for “throwing open the > windows of the church, to let the fresh air of the Spirit blo” >


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