ADVENT REFLECTION DAY 19
18th of December
Meditation on St Joseph.
The Gospel for 18th December is taken from Matthew 1.18-24. It tells of the events leading to the birth of Christ, Joseph is central in the story.
The Gospel tells us little about St Joseph, but how precious that little is. We first meet him facing a most painful situation. He did not yet know how Mary had come to be with Child. From the point of view of society at that time, Mary had disgraced her own family, insulted her future husband and his family and committed an offence that could be punishable by stoning to death. But Joseph was a" just man" and wanted to do his best for Mary in the circumstances. He planned to save the woman he loved by secretly divorcing her.(Mt 118-19). His trial was similar to that of Abrahams' when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen.22), to give up what was most precious to him. But as in the story of Abraham God intervened. He found in Joseph the faith He was looking for.
God blessed Joseph by sending an Angel to let him know what had happened. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that Mary was with Child to whom Joseph was to give the name of Jesus. This Child would save the people from their sins and prove to be Emmanuel, God with us.
After the Christ Child was born and the Magi had paid their homage the Angel returned to warn Joseph about the murderous plans of Herod the Great to kill the Child. Joseph reacted at once and under the cover of the darkness of the night he took Mary and the Child to safety in Egypt. When Herod died an Angel again appeared to Joseph to tell him it was safe to return to Nazareth.
The first letter of St John sums up Love as being not a matter of word or speech, but of truth and action. This could easily relate to Joseph. He never made a speech, he never said a word. It is in action that he shows his love for the Christ Child and Mary.
Psalm 1. presents an image of the 'just man" who is one who maintains living contact with the Word of God, who 'delights in the law of the Lord.' We might well think of this image as a portrait of St Joseph.
This painting by Guido Reni (1575-1642), in the National Gallery, London, gives us a wonderful celebratory scene of the shepherds' adoration. Reni draws us into the painting by the light emanating from the Baby and onto the dancing Angels above. You will notice that Joseph leaves a space between himself and the kneeling shepherd boy, a space that invites us into the picture. As we prepare during these final days before Christmas let us accept Joseph's silent invitation and adore in our minds and hearts the Saviour who has come.
Let us ask Our Lady and St Joseph to pray for all families, especially families uprooted and displaced: refugees, migrants, travellers and for all families who experience brokenness whatever the reason.
And we present today’s author:-