Santa Marta: Joseph, Silent Strength and Faith

Reminds of Joseph ‘who carried forward every paternity and mystery, but took nothing for himself’

Mass at Santa Marta © L'Osservatore Romano

Mass at Santa Marta © L'Osservatore Romano

Joseph is a perfect model of silent strength and faith.

According to VaticanNews, Pope Francis gave this reminder today, Dec. 18, 2017, during his daily morning Mass in his residence Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on today’s Gospel, and specifically Joseph’s initial doubt and worry when he learned Mary was pregnant.

When we have difficulties or are down, Pope Francis said, we should be inspired by St Joseph, who knew “how to walk in darkness,” “listen to the voice of God,” and “go forward in silence.”

While he “did not understand,” the Pope said, he knew that Mary was “a woman of God,” and believed when the Lord sent him an angel in a dream to explain how–though the Holy Spirit–the child had been conceived.

“Joseph fought within himself; in that struggle, the voice of God is heard: ‘But get up’ — that ‘Get up’ [which is heard] so many times in the Bible at the beginning of a mission — ‘Take Mary, bring her to your home. Take charge of the situation; take this situation in hand, and go forward.’ Joseph didn’t go to his friends to be comforted, he didn’t go to a psychiatrist so that he could interpret the dream. No… He believed. And he went forward. He took the situation in hand. But what must you take in hand, Joseph? What was the situation? What was it that Joseph had to take up?

“Two things: fatherhood, and mystery,” Francis answered.

Regarding “fatherhood,” Francis observed: This is already implied in the genealogy of Jesus, which explains how He “was thought to be the son of Joseph.”

“He took on a paternity that was not his own: it came from the Father. And he went ahead with that fatherhood and all it signified: not only supporting Mary and the Child, but also raising the Child, teaching Him his trade, bringing Him up to manhood. ‘Take up a paternity that is not yours, but God’s.’ And this, without saying a word. In the Gospel, there is not a single word spoken by Joseph. A man of silence, of silent obedience.”

Turning to mystery, the Holy Father explained that Jesus took in hand the mystery of leading people back to God mentioned in the first reading.

“Joseph took in hand this mystery and helps: with silence, with his work, up to the moment when God called him to Himself. It is said of this man, who took up fatherhood and mystery, that he was the shadow of the Father: the shadow of God the Father.

“And if the man Jesus learned to say ‘daddy,’ ‘father,’ to His Father Who He knew as God,” Francis explained, “He learned it from life, from the witness of Joseph, the man who took care of Him, the man who raised Him, the man who carried forward every paternity and every mystery, but took nothing for himself.”

Pope Francis concluded saying this is the great Joseph, whom God needed to carry forward “the mystery of leading the people anew to the new Creation.”

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