We can all corroborate the fact that God works in mysterious ways. In fact, none of us would be here today if we had not responded to God’s call. And today we consider how God chose a simple carpenter to be the foster father for his eternal Son. How could a mere man be charged with the upbringing of the Son of God? As with many things, this remains a mystery to us, but we do know that when God calls someone to do something, he gives them all the grace they need for the job. This is why Saint Joseph has been adopted as the patron and protector of those who enter the priesthood and the religious life, simply because we could never respond to God’s call and be faithful to it, without his help, and the example of people like Saint Joseph who show us that it is possible to be faithful and obedient to God’s call, but only if we respond to it with humility, trust and generosity.
Saint Joseph was a man of tremendous faith who trusted God completely. Silent though he was – not one word of his is recorded in Sacred Scripture – yet his actions speak more loudly than all the sermons, exhortations, and philosophizing of Christian history. At the beginning of Our Lord’s life, when our redemption was close at hand, we read about one man whose strength, trust, and humility stand as a sign of the new creation that Our Lord would make possible for all of us through his suffering and death.
God spoke to Joseph through an angel in dreams, and every time Joseph heard from the angel, he promptly followed God’s will. The situations Joseph faced were difficult to say the least. For example, on the angel’s first visit, God told Joseph of Mary’s miraculous conception and that he shouldn’t fear taking Mary as his wife. Surely, he must have been tempted to doubt, or at least to be concerned about what other people might think or say. But, without asking for further understanding—without a single question—Joseph acted decisively and followed God’s will.
Like Saint Joseph, we too are called to be generous receivers of God’s grace, his power that enables us to obey him and to be faithful to God in all things.
And so this, the Patronal Feast of our community, may we endeavour to be open to God’s will as we hear him speak to us in prayer, in our study, as we read Scripture and while participating in the liturgy. Life isn’t plain sailing, not even for priests and religious, and sometimes we face difficult situations and we may be tempted to doubt God. We may be tempted to doubt our own specific vocation and why God called us to this particular place to live with these particular people. And yet we each have access to the Holy Spirit, who loves to instruct us in God’s ways. When we follow God’s will our faith, hope, and intimacy with God mature, and like Saint Joseph we become more able to do the works he has prepared for us. May God who has begun this good work in you, bring it to completion.
Saint Joseph, patron of our community, pray for us.