We are concluding the year of St. Joseph on 8 th December 2021. It is nice to have a reflection on St Joseph as God gave him
as gift to be perfect model of obedience and the protector of the faithful or the Church. God delegated to St. Joseph of
Nazareth, in the words of St. John Paul II that the “safekeeping of the Eternal Word, made man by the power of the Holy
Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary.” God adorned St. Joseph with all the graces he needed to offer himself in total
obedience to God’s divine plan and thus fulfill his vocation of husband of the Mother of God and foster father of Jesus at the
service of the Church. Although he did not take part fully in the mystery of the Incarnation, he was the “wise and faithful
servant, whom the Lord has put in charge of his household” (cf. Lk 12:42) and who, with obedient docility, accepted the will
of the Lord completely in the eyes of faith since God’s plan for his life went beyond human understanding. Before the angel
of the Lord appeared to Joseph to reveal God’s will for him, Joseph was determined to avoid denouncing his wife in public.
St John Paul II explains this “just” characteristic of St. Joseph as an “attitude of total openness to the will of the heavenly
Father. He awaited the call from on High and in silence respected the mystery, letting himself be guided by the Lord.” When
the angel of the Lord appeared to him and asked him to be the husband of Mary even though it seemed to go against the law,
Joseph listened attentively and “did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took her as his wife,” (Mt 1:24) echoing in
a silent and simple way Mary’s fiat in the Annunciation, the decisive moment for all of humanity. In those few words
Joseph’s reality changes and he begins his silent journey of everyday service as the responsible, humble and faithful husband
capable of a chaste and supernatural love for his wife, Mary, and guardian of the Redeemer and Saviour of the world yet to be
born, leaving for all of humanity a model of life in faith.
In the prayer to St. Joseph for priests, (Daily Roman Missal) we find, St. Joseph was indeed full of faith because he openly
submitted himself to obediently accept what he had longed to see but had not seen and longed to hear but had not heard until
he was privileged to see and hear (cf. Mt 13:17) when God chose to reveal it to him. It is this kind of faith, a harmonious
synthesis of the virtue of obedience that brings St. Joseph to the generous docility of his flesh, to offer himself completely to
the will of the Father and thus show not love of himself but love of God and love of and for the other. St John Paul II’s
encyclical Redemptoris Custos (the Guardian of the Redeemer) # N 20 explains that “Through St Joseph’s complete self-
sacrifice, he expressed his generous love for the Mother of God, and gave her a husband’s “gift of self.” Even though he
decided to draw back so as not to interfere in the plan of God which was coming to pass in Mary, Joseph obeyed the explicit
command of the angel and took Mary into his home, while respecting the fact that she belonged exclusively to God. In his
own “Annunciation” without saying a word, St. Joseph simply takes action and thus cooperates in the great mystery of
salvation. Great love to the extreme that made St. Joseph accept God’s mystery of wanting the Mother of God to be virgin
and at the same time is married to St. Joseph, a man here on earth. God granted St. Joseph graces of obedience and faith to
understand this in his heart.
Just as St. Joseph was obedient to the Father and showed love in fulfilling His will as the chaste husband of the Mother of
God, St. Joseph also lived obediently and lovingly in his task, entrusted to him by God, of protecting and safeguarding Christ
and his Body, the Church. After he gives God his fiat in taking Mary as his wife, St. Joseph is left with her care and that of
the Redeemer who is only an infant. In the next dream that St. Joseph has, the angel directs him to take his family and flee
since the child’s life was in danger of being killed (Mt 2:13-14). Joseph does as he is told and flees to Egypt where the angel
of the Lord appears to him in a third dream and directs him to Nazareth, the town that would witness the careful upbringing
of the Redeemer by his foster father St. Joseph (Mt 2:19-23). Once again we see how St. Joseph denies himself, allows
himself to be guided by a mysterious plan that his intellect does not understand and that does not go with his will, thus
offering himself out of love and obedience for the Other. It is in the poverty of our will where we find our richness, as John
the Baptist reminds us that we must decrease so that He may increase (Jn 3:30). It is this richness that St. Joseph found daily
during his upbringing and daily devotion of the Saviour alongside his wife Mary, the Mother of God. It is because St. Joseph
so lovingly and obediently persevered in this mysterious mission, providing for all of the necessities of his family, that Pope
Leo XIII proclaimed St. Joseph as the paternal protector of the life of the Church, the earthly Family of God, in his encyclical
Epistle Quamquam pluries on August 15th of 1889 and he acknowledged that God had put St. Joseph, the holy patriarch in
charge of his household, the Church. Pope Francis, in this year of St Joseph says, “Joseph, with his life, seems to want to tell
us that we are always called to feel that we are the guardians of our brothers and sisters, the custodians of those placed close
to us, of those whom the Lord entrusts to us through the circumstances of life.” Let us pray to St. Joseph to protect the Church
from every danger and our society from all sorts of evil: corruption, human trafficking, and indifference.