A JUST MAN OF DREAMS
Today’s gospel calls Joseph “a just man.” It is a title that the scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments give to people who try to live according to God’s plans. Indeed, he played an important role in God’s plan of salvation; God entrusted our Saviour, Jesus, to his care. He experienced that his important role brought him many difficulties, but he stood the test and served God well, as a man of faith, generous, and indeed “just.”
God our Father,
you entrusted your Son Jesus
to the dedicated care of St. Joseph.
Give us the faith of this just man,
the patron of your Church,
that we may always listen to you,
and serve you in everything you ask of us
also when we do not understand
where you are leading us.
Make us live close to your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
1 Reading: 2 SAMUEL 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16
The LORD spoke to Nathan and said: “Go, tell my servant David, ‘When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name. And I will make his royal throne firm forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.'”
Responsorial PSALM 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29
R. (37) The son of David will live for ever.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness,
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness. R.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.” R.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.” R.
2 Reading: ROMANS 4:13, 16-18, 22
Brothers and sisters: It was not through the law that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants that he would inherit the world, but through the righteousness that comes from faith. For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not to those who only adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us, as it is written, I have made you father of many nations. He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist. He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become the father of many nations, according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be. That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
Verse Before the Gospel: Ps 84:5
Glory and praise to you, oh Christ!
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, O Lord;
they never cease to praise you.
Glory and praise to you, oh Christ!
Gospel: MATTHEW 1:16, 18-21, 24a
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
Leant to say, ‘Go to Joseph’
Today the Church celebrates the solemnity of St. Joseph, the head of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Patron of the Universal Church. Pope Francis in his catechesis on St. Joseph explained that “Jesus and Mary His Mother are the most precious treasure of our faith, and this treasure is guarded by St. Joseph.”
Our dreams during a sleep allow us to free up our subconscious from negative experiences or satisfy hidden desires. Frames of our past occur in them. We also dream with open eyes and project ourselves into the future: We imagine our future is already concluded and anticipate the joy of success. Even if only for a few moments, we enjoy such daydreams to escape from the depressing reality that worries us.
Sacred Scripture speaks of a third kind of dream, the dreams of the Lord. They are the mysterious plans of his love revealed to people —as happened to Abraham (Gen 15:5)—or in the endless night of struggle with God, as happened to Jacob (Gen 32:23-33).
Joseph, the husband of Mary, came into this dream. Detached from himself and from his personal projects, he was available at all times, as Abraham and Jacob were, to accept the will of the Lord. God made him partaker of his dreams. In reflection and prayer, he discovered the heavenly dreams about his family.
Today’s Gospel passage from Matthew is the solemn conclusion with which the evangelist proclaims a fundamental truth of the Christian faith: Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary, is the expected descendant of David, the Messiah. Matthew highlights the figure of Joseph because it is through him that Jesus joins the family of David.
St. Joseph teaches us a beautiful mark of the Christian vocation: to guard. He teaches To guard life, to guard human development. To be a Christian is to be like St. Joseph: he must be a guardian. To be a Christian is not only to receive and to confess the faith, but also to guard life, one’s own life, the life of others, the life of the Church.”
The expression used to refer to the Joseph of the Old Testament, “Go to Joseph” (Ite ad Joseph) is applied to Joseph of Nazareth in the life of the Church. After all, God himself turned to Joseph and entrusted him with all that was precious to Him: Jesus and Mary. Let us entrust ourselves, our families and our Church to him as well. Let us decide today, to “Go to Joseph!”
As we celebrate St. Joseph today, let us bring our intentions before the Lord.
– Lord, we pray you for your Church. Let it honor St Joseph, its patron, through a responsible and dedicated leadership, we pray:
– Lord, we pray you for those in public office, that they may lead their people with wisdom and justice, we pray:
– Lord, we pray you for heads of families, including single parents, that they may be dedicated to their children, we pray:
– Lord, we pray you for laborers who live by the work of their hands; may they do their work conscientiously and take pride in it, we pray:
– Lord, we pray you for ourselves. May we be people who know how to serve and to live in our presence, we pray:
Lord, may the help of St Joseph help us all to serve you with love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Prayer over the Gifts
we bring before you bread and wine.
Let these gifts express
that we want to carry out
the task you entrust to us in life.
Dispose us to cooperate wholeheartedly with your plans
to bring your love and freedom
to this entire world,
that it may accept and serve
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
God our Father,
you have given us the food
that brings us the strength and the perseverance
to do the work you entrust to us.
Like St Joseph, may we serve you well
and put all our trust in you.
Make us responsible and just persons
who reflect your goodness and love.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
May the Lord make us his good and faithful servants, trustworthy and just. Let his blessing come down on us and accompany us on the road of life: the blessing of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!