Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 14
Feast of St. Joseph [Tuesday in Second Week of Lent]
“A father’s greatest responsibility”
We tend to forget that between Jesus’ birth in a manger and his ministry as an adult, there are some 30 odd years. For example, who picked up Jesus and comforted him back to sleep when he had a bad dream in the middle of the night? Who taught him to skip a rock across a stream? Who told him the stories of the Old Testament and taught him to memorize the Psalms and the Prophets? It wasn’t only Mary, his mother, but also Joseph, his earthly father. While Luke’s Gospel focuses exclusively on Mary and the baby Jesus, Matthew’s Gospel focuses exclusively on Joseph. Through Joseph, God fulfills his promises to David—“I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom… I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son,” (II Sam 7:12-14, C.f. Mt 1:16). Perhaps Joseph’s greatest achievement as Jesus’ father was to teach him to love his Heavenly Father. Thus, in today’s Luke reading, when Mary asks Jesus, “Son, behold, your father and I have been looking for you,” Jesus responds, “I must be in my Father’s house” (Lk 2:48-49)! Neither Mary nor Joseph rebuke this 12 year old Jesus for such a preposterous pre-teen comment. For Christian fathers today, the greatest achievements we will have is not teaching our kids how to throw a baseball or stand up to a bully but rather, step out of the way and point our kids to know and love God as their Father, in the same way that Joseph did for Jesus.
O God, who from the family of thy servant David didst raise up Joseph to be the guardian of thy incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to thy commands; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.