Today is the wonderful Solemnity of St. Joseph. Joseph, that man chosen by God, to protect those things dearest to His heart: Our Lady, Jesus, and His Church. No small task!
As our Holy Father spoke today of St. Joseph he especially points out some of the most important attributes of this great saint, and how we can emulate him. As Joseph was faithful to God’s will, we look to his example to see how we can be faithful, and fulfill, by God’s grace, His will for us.
Pope Francis says this:
How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own…“protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
As Christians we are all, like Joseph, called to be protectors. We must protect the vulnerabilities of those not only weaker than ourselves, but all, even those whom we find difficult to love.
In today’s dog-eat-dog culture, which views people in a utilitarian light, where love is defined by “what I’m getting” rather than by what one is giving, strength and power are seen as tools to raise oneself up at the expense of others. Pope Francis wants us to turn our eyes to St. Joseph, an authentic model of strength, the strength that is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9), the strength that makes us willing to expose ourselves, become vulnerable, in order to protect others. This is the strength that makes us like Joseph, and ultimately, makes us like the Son he was chosen to shelter and protect.