A man who always did what was right

St Joseph with the Infant Jesus (c. 1635), at ...

St Joseph with the Infant Jesus (c. 1635), at the Hermitage, in St. Petersburg. Oil on canvas, 126 x 101 cm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew 1:19 describes St. Joseph as “Joseph was a man who always did what was right..”

What a beautiful description of the man chosen by God to be the head of the household of His family, the guardian of God’s own Son.

Although St. Joseph speaks no words in the Bible, we are given much information about this holy and blessed man.  We know he came from the tribe of David. We know it was the father’s duty to name the child. Joseph was instructed by an angel to take Mary as his wife and name the child Jesus, (God Saves).   We know that upon awaking from his dream with the angel, Joseph immediately surrendered his life over to God’s will and took Mary into his home.  Joseph was the first man to lay down his life for the mission of bringing Jesus to the whole world.  The marriage of Mary and Joseph was a holy union of hearts.  Their pure love for each other created the marriage sacrament whereby today marriages in Church are sanctified by the Spirit.

I can only imagine the astonishment this man must have felt.  He knew first hand the awesome mystery of Mary’s motherhood.  As he witnessed the child growing in her womb, he must have felt great pride and love, but also fear of the challenges they must face.  His mission was to serve and protect this mother and son.  Even for the holy family, the path was not an easy one.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  The King came into this world in a small stable and was laid in a manger.  St. Joseph kneeling at Mary’s side during the birth was the first man to kneel before Christ the Lord.  Assisting with the delivery, he would have been the first the hold the Child Jesus.  I imagine he looked up to heaven thanking God for the precious Child.  Looking up he would have witnessed the star and wondered at the light that shone down on his family.  Later he also marveled at the shepherds who gathered to pay homage as they explained to Joseph they were led by angels and then the wise men who were led by that guiding star.

The next time an angel appeared to Joseph, the message was one of a warning.  Joseph was warned that Herod wanted to kill the baby Jesus and was told to escape with his family to Egypt.  That must have been a terrifying experience!  The Lord God must have trusted Joseph tremendously to entrust His only Son to Joseph’s care.  Joseph must have trusted the Lord tremendously to have listened and obeyed.

Joseph fulfilled his mission.  He kept the family safe, returning to reside in Nazareth when the angel informed him it was now safe to return.  We know that Jesus was obedient to his parents.  Jesus loved, obeyed and honored Joseph and Mary, his parents.  When Jesus was a man, St. Joseph passed away.  I believe Jesus was there at St. Joseph’s side as he left this world.  One man’s mission was complete; another Man’s mission was just beginning.  Jesus in a way owed His very existence and ability to complete His mission to that wonderful man, Joseph, who “always did what was right.”

St. Joseph is a great model for how we should love our Lord.  St. Joseph’s gift of self allowed the fulfillment of God’s greatest gift to us!

This Christmas Eve, walk out into the night with your family and look for the Christmas star.  Remember the holy family and the sacrifice of St. Joseph; thank him for serving and caring for Our Lord, Jesus.

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry

The Great Shepherd

English: Nativity scene

English: Nativity scene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Growing up, I loved gazing at the nativity scene my mom would set up under the Christmas tree.  My mind would imagine how special that holy night would have been for Mary and Joseph and those lucky shepherds who responded to the angels.  The Son of God born in a stable in Bethlehem.  What a gift to mankind!

I was watching “Mother Angelica Classics” on EWTN the other night.  Mother brought back those memories for me as she asked the question, “what are you giving Christ for Christmas?”.  You would think that since Jesus is the reason for the season,  He would be foremost on everyone’s mind during this advent season.  Unfortunately, I believe there is very little thought given to Jesus this time of year, and even less on what to give Him for Christmas.  People are so busy buying, wrapping, planning, partying….

Jesus told Nancy Fowler in Conyers, Ga, “My children do not realize what I do for them.  My children do not understand that I am truly alive…My children do not look for Me. My children do not think of Me. My children do not speak about Me.  My children do not live for Me, with Me, and in Me.  Where are you little ones?  You are scattered. You are lost. I am the Great Shepherd and I have come for you. Why do you hide? Why do you speak in secrecy? Do you not know I see all things? I know all things.  I am Jesus. I am the living Jesus. The Father is in Me and I am in My Father. I am Jesus, Son of the Living God.”

He was the lamb of God; the Great Sacrifice, who gave Himself over to His Father’s will for our salvation.  He is now our Great Shepherd, calling us, leading us to follow Him and His Father’s will.  Christmas is a time for all mankind to pay homage to this great mystery of God’s incarnation and give back in Jesus’ name.

There are always signs of hope.  I watched a news report today of someone going around leaving huge tips to waiters and waitresses all in the name of Jesus.  The church I attend is giving extra confession times this advent and I hear there are long lines of people asking Jesus for forgiveness. And over the weekend I lit the advent wreath at home with my two grandchildren as they sang “Silent Night” and my four-year-old grandson recited the “Blessing before Meals” when I asked for a prayer.

What can we give Jesus for Christmas?  He only wants our heart.  His heart was given to us before time.  We need only give Him our heart and He will fill them with gifts of peace, grace, and love.

There is no greater graces then those obtained at Holy Mass.  Please, go sit with Jesus and in the silence of your heart, you will hear Him.  Don’t be one of those Christians who attend mass at Christmas time only; go often.  He is your Shepherd.  Give Him your heart, your time, and your love.  Let Him lead you to His Father.

First Letter of Peter 1:17 “You call him Father, when you pray to God, who judges all people by the same standard according to what each one has done, so then, spend the rest of your lives here on earth in reverence of Him. For you know what was paid to set you free from the worthless manner of life handed down by your ancestors, it was the costly sacrifice of Christ, who was like a lamb without defect or flaw.”

What will you give Christ this Christmas?

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry