Happy Feast Day of St. Joseph!
Today we celebrate the man that God chose to be the leader of the Son's household while on Earth. He's kind of a big deal.
As we know, Joseph was betrothed to Mary when the Angel Gabriel asked her if she would birth the Son of Man. And thankfully, Mary said yes, allowing humanity to have a true Savior in Jesus Christ. That's awesome and that's what makes Mary so special and worthy to be our Holy Mother.
But something we often miss in the history of Christmas is the fact that Joseph said yes too. Sure, he didn't have to carry Jesus in his own body or go through the pains of childbirth and no he wasn't still around at the time of Crucifixion. And yes, when Jesus can have a Father in God the Father, why would he appoint St. Joseph as our Father, like he appointed Mary our Mother? That's just unnecessary.
But that doesn't meant that St. Joseph doesn't matter. When Mary told him that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, Joseph probably panicked. But, thinking of Mary's well-being and trying to shame her as little as possible, he was set to divorce the young girl and not cause her any more trouble.
Let's focus on this moment for a second. Mary, a very young bride as was the tradition, comes up to Joseph who she's supposed to Mary, and tells him she's pregnant. This isn't the age of Brad and Angelina and Teen Mom. In the BC Era, they weren't keen on pre-marital pregnancy. Really, really not keen. So sure, Joseph probably panicked. He probably wanted to know how and why and when and who the father was. He was probably angry that the woman he was betrothed to had defiled herself and become pregnant as a result. You might not agree with this reaction, but in those times, it would've only been natural.
Of course, Mary told him that the Holy Spirit had caused her to be pregnant and God had called her to give birth to Jesus as a virgin. Would you have believed her?
Joseph did. He got over his anger and confusion and panic. He probably barely knew Mary at the time, yet he trusted her. He accepted her story, having heard the same from God in his own dreams. And he decided that despite the possibility for the ridicule, humiliation, and maybe even denouncement and excommunication from their families because of this pre-marital child, he would marry Mary and become Jesus' human dad. He said yes.
You may be wondering why we're talking about Christmas in the middle of Lent. The truth is, St. Joseph had a lot of scary, hurtful times ahead of him because of Mary's pregnancy. He probably went through quite a few in his head before choosing whether or not to follow God's will. But at the end of that process, he decided to just trust God and say yes.
We have ten more days of Lenten sacrifice and love, prayer and meditation, reflection and penance. Our choices from here on out may not be whether or not to be the human dad to Jesus. They're probably not that serious. But no matter the gravity, our decisions can make big differences in our lives. Sometimes they'll be easy, they'll be black and white, right and wrong. Sometimes they'll bring us worlds of happiness and lives of peace.
But not all the time. Sometimes deciding to follow God's will lead us down treacherous, difficult paths to a great good and a truer happiness and a more fulfilling peace than we can even imagine. Kind of like Lent. We've chosen a path of sacrifice, knowing it will come to an end at Easter when we celebrate Jesus' Resurrection and our Salvation. But we won't always be able to see the end at the beginning of those treacherous and difficult paths. Sometimes we have to walk blind into the fire and trust God to lead us through it. And to get through it, we're going to have to pray and meditate and sacrifice and reflect and confess and be forgiven and then do it all over again. The good news is, we've got ten more Christ-given days to practice. So let's use them to keep saying yes.
Have a yes-full day