St. Joseph, Faithful presence of Hope

February 24, 2013

PresentationattheTemple

Here is the scene for this fourth devotion to St. Joseph. It is the time for the purification, Joseph and Mary bring the infant Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it was written in the law of the Lord. Simeon is in the Temple when they arrive, he takes the child in his arms, blesses God and proclaims his great canticle. Joseph and Mary marvel at what is said by Simeon. Simeon blesses Mary and further proclaims that the child is “set for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and a sword will pierce through your own heart also.” (see Lk2: 35)

How does St. Joseph comprehend this? This child is the “salvation, the light for the revelation of the Gentiles, the cause of the falling and rising of many.” What can this mean, salvation is for the Jewish people, the chosen race, how can this child be the light for the Gentiles? This is a lot for Joseph to ponder and understand. But then Simeon tells Mary that a sword will pierce her heart. Will Mary be wounded? How will this come about? How can Joseph protect his wife from what must sound like an assault? We can begin to see what more is being asked of St. Joseph. His fear he keeps in his heart, but by his presence, he assures Mary that he will care for her and the child. As he experiences concern for his family, he also knows the joy of the coming salvation just foretold.

I imagine that many of us have been in the position of St. Joseph, standing by a loved one when they receive shocking and disbelieving news. Maybe a diagnosis of cancer or Alzheimer’s, or the loss of a job, or the death of a child – even though we may not be able to protect them from the pain and sorrow, we give them hope. St. Joseph is the sign of the silent, sure, faithful presence of hope.

O protector of Mary, Mother of Jesus, you know the joy of salvation and pain of loving someone who has been given a message of suffering. You take unto yourself her pain and let it be transformed in a visible sign of hope. By your witness and your intercession we ask to also be witnesses of hope for the glory of God. St. Joseph, stand by us on this journey.

Pray for us, blessed St. Joseph,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Almighty God,
In your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven,
particularly as we discern our chosen-ness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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