March 20, 2023 –
The Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
II Sam 7:4-5,12-14,16 + Rom 4:13,16-18,22 + Mt 1:16,18-21,24 [or Lk 2:41-51]
“Forever will I confirm your posterity ….”
In the midst of our ascent to Calvary, we pause to take a deep breath and sing of “the favors of the Lord”. Like King David, we dare to chant that “through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness”. On this feast of Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary, all of our readings draw our minds to the enduring nature of the covenant between the Lord and His People.
On a day-to-day basis, most of us have difficulty even remembering the small things that we promise to do for others. Of course, all of the small promises that we make are concrete examples of the promises by which we have consecrated our lives to the Lord: first in baptism, and then—many of us—by means of more specific vows or promises.
This promise of oneself—this faithful handing over of one’s own earthly life to another—is the greatest covenant we can establish as individuals. It is by this that we become more than individuals. As such, we bow in homage before the Lord who wishes to make this covenant with every human person.
It is specifically as the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary that we honor Saint Joseph today. Today, in a manner of speaking, is a Marian feast. It is the spousal nature of Joseph’s life that mirrors in his earthly life the enduring fidelity of the Lord. From his place in Heaven, St. Joseph is the patron of the universal Church, that instrument through which the Lord wishes to make a covenant with each member of the human race, making each person a member of His divine Son’s Body. It is the Church that proclaims to the world yet converted the faithfulness of the Lord, and it is to the Church that the Lord promises that He will strengthen us in all our trials.
The life of Saint Joseph is one of silent fidelity to the Lord. We have in Scripture no words of St. Joseph recorded. Even the words that are spoken by others to St. Joseph are words that measure by measure call for ever-growing trust in the Lord’s plan. Step-by-step: that’s the only way to reach Heaven. As we continue to step up the path to Calvary, let us pray that Saint Joseph’s spousal trust and fidelity will be our own.