We Celebrate a Year of St. Joseph
A Year of St Joseph
On December 8th, Pope Francis announced a Year of St Joseph, as an honor of the 150th anniversary of the saint’s proclamation as of the patron of Universal Church
This year we are celebrating the Feast of Christmas in an entirely different way. Perhaps now more than ever, we enter into this feast with a keen sense of our own poverty. We have all found ourselves in the middle of a pandemic that has altered our lives significantly: we cannot socialize or celebrate in the same way that we are accustomed because of restrictions and, in some cases, financial limitations. And, even more, we cannot all gather together in our parish church to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
In this spirit of poverty, I would like to draw your attention to a key figure in the Christmas story—the one who is most overlooked: the courageous and untiring St. Joseph. This humble man was entrusted with the privilege to care for Our Lady and Jesus, Who he loved very much, and he took this duty very seriously. Can you imagine, then, my brothers and sisters, the sense of utter helplessness that Joseph felt when he took very pregnant Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census? What pain as he watched Mary riding on a donkey for miles? And what must he thought when he was unable to find a room for the woman and child with who he was entrusted to protect? He must have experienced to some degree that everything was working against him. Like any man, he might have had hopes and dreams of welcoming the Son of God in a modest but readied room, and instead, God chose to arrive in a cold, damp shelter in the middle of the night. From a human point of view, we find ourselves like Joseph this Christmas: uncertain and helpless as the world around us closes its doors to us through “stay at home” orders, things change by the minute, and what we had hoped for unexpectedly changes.
And yet, my brothers and sisters, despite the great poverty of Joseph’s helplessness, Jesus came. Jesus came into the world and entrusted Himself not to a warm room, or a comfortable crib, or freshly laundered linens, but to Mary’s tenderness and Joseph’s protection. Jesus was entrusted to their arms and their hearts. God the Father knew this, and that is why, even in the midst of Joseph’s helplessness—and rather, precisely because of it—He took care of everything. In their deep material poverty, Joseph and Mary were rich because they had Everything that mattered, and they welcomed Jesus into their lives with completely open hearts. In this way, the coldness of the cave gave way to the warmth of the love of family.
And so, my brothers and sisters, as we enter into the Christmas season, let us thank God for the poverty in which we find ourselves, whether it be financial, psychological, spiritual, or material. For, it is precisely into this context that Christ came at Christmas and comes now into our hearts that are stripped of what is not essential. As Mary and Joseph remind us: the only thing that we really need to celebrate Christmas is a heart ready to receive the Lord. And if we have the faith to see this, then we also have hope and joy that, no matter what happens—no matter how bad things get or how helpless we feel—we are never alone.
Most sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. W. Artur Marat
Tags: #arthurmarat, #christmas, #olw, #olwparish, #stjoseph