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Missions 109

Monday Reflection

Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Husband of Mary

(2 Sam 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16; Rom 4:13, 16-18, 22; Lk 2:41-51a)

St. Joseph played an important role in the Mystery of the Incarnation. He would be the guardian and foster father of Christ. He was a devout and silent man. He was a descendant of David which makes Jesus also born according to the lineage of David. This is fulfill what what prophesied that the Savior will be born according to the line of David: “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Samuel 7:12-13). St. Joseph is venerated by Catholics, Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran Churches. St. Joseph is considered the Patron of the Universal Church because of his obedience to the words of the angel in the dream. Second, he is the Patron of the sick and the dying because he died on the arms of Mary and Jesus. He is the patron of happy death. Third, he is the Patron of Husbands. He is a concrete example of a true husband loving Mary and taking care of her in his home. He should be the model of all fathers and husbands of every Christian family. There are some points for reflection on this solemnity today that would enrich our relationship with St. Joseph.

1. Meeting of the two faiths- The solemnity which we celebrate today makes us reflect the joy St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary had as their faith meet. The faith of Joseph meets the faith of Mary. Like the two Mothers, Mary and Elizabeth that met, the infants in their wombs leapt for joy so too was the joy of the meeting of the two faiths. St. Joseph is worth of honor and veneration today because the true expressions of his faith were seen during the challenging moments he had when encountering the mystery of the motherhood of Mary. First, when the angel said to Joseph in a dream: “Joseph, Son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife into your home,” this indicated that in Joseph “whose custody God entrusted his most precious treasures,” the role of faith will play an important part. With the faith of Mary, the Child will be born and with the faith of Joseph, the Child will be taken cared of. Through the faith of Mary, the prophesies of old will be fulfilled, through the faith of Joseph the Child will grow as a man. Faith plays an important role here because faith led Mary and Joseph towards obedience. Mary said to the angel “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38) Joseph likewise “did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” St. Paul, in the second reading says: “For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants.” Without the faith of Mary and Joseph, Jesus would not been born to us, and thus, faith became a path and a light to give us hope. Pope Francis says: “faith is also a light coming from the future and opening before us vast horizons which guide us beyond our isolated selves towards the breadth of communion.” (LF 4)

2. First Guardian- St. Joseph is considered as the first guardian of Divine Mystery. Joseph has a special place in the history of salvation of mankind because God’s most precious treasure had been entrusted to him and was placed under his care. It was perplexing on his part how he could take care of what was revealed to him. At first, he could not fully grasp all these things which prompted him to “divorce her quietly.” John Paul II describes his situation: “He did not know how to deal with Mary’s “astonishing” motherhood. He certainly sought an answer to this unsettling question, but above all he sought a way out of what was for him a difficult situation.” Like Mary, Joseph would be one of the closest figures to Jesus. It is also to him shall we cast our concerns. He died on the arms of Mary and Jesus which indicates the gift of happy death. As he took care of the family, Mary and Jesus took care of him in his last moments on earth. This is our hope that Mary and Jesus would take care of us as we leave this world and die on their arms. This is what Psalm 23:4 says “though I walk in the valley of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.” As the first guardian of Jesus and Mary, Joseph became also the first one to share in the faith of Mary. He became the unique custodian of divine mystery. John Paul II says: “Together with Mary, and in relation to Mary, he shares in this final phase of God’s self-revelation in Christ and he does so from the very beginning. Looking at the gospel texts of both Matthew and Luke, one can also say that Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation. He is also the first to be placed by God on the path of Mary’s “pilgrimage of faith.” It is a path along which - especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost - Mary will precede in a perfect way.

3. Gift of Fatherhood- St. Joseph is the Patron of Fathers and husbands. The fatherly role of Joseph to Jesus indicated the closest relationship between him and Jesus. The Holy Family enjoyed the fatherhood of Joseph and the motherhood of Mary. The following are the results of the fatherhood of Joseph: a) the fatherly care and protection for Jesus was assured, b) St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine say about the “indivisible union of souls” because there was first of all a “union of hearts” and no divorce had happened, c) the mission and and service of Joseph was fulfilled through the exercise of his fatherhood. Joseph made God’s fatherhood more human as possible. This fulfills what the first reading today says “I

will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me,” d) John Paul II says “Joseph showed Jesus “by a special gift from heaven, all the natural love, all the affectionate solicitude that a father's heart can know,” e) the private and “hidden” life of Jesus was taken cared of by Joseph because the salvation of mankind will transpire through the humanity of Christ.

Monday of the First Week of Easter

(Acts 2: 14; 22-33; Mt. 28:8-15)

The joyous proclamation that Jesus is alive strengthens our hope and deepens our knowledge of Christ. Jesus’ victorious rising from the tomb defeats all forms of deaths and brings about all forms of new life. We enter into the octave of Easter and the readings will bring us back to the primordial experience of the disciples during the first Easter. The readings will describe the situation of the disciples who heard about the News that He is truly risen. The readings will stir up in us a certain level of amazement and a sense of newness of perspective and journey of faith.

3 Things the Disciples Experienced After the Resurrection

1. Proclamation

It is very evident that the first missionary form that was shaped immediately after the Mystery of the Resurrection was proclamation. The mission of proclamation was demonstrated right away by Peter. He courageously stood up together with his disciples and proclaimed that the fulfillment of the prophecies of the prophets is now in Jesus. Peter proclaimed this in the midst of misunderstanding, confusion, fear, distrust and greed. Peter was described to be a coward after denying Jesus three times, who promised the Lord “even though all may leave because of you, I will never leave you,” and the one who was rebuked by the Lord who judges not according to God’s standards but according to man’s. After the resurrection, Peter is now shown to us by the readings as exercising leadership among the disciples. He proclaimed, rebuked, and preached in order to be shaped by the word proclaimed. Peter commanded the early Christians twice who are Jews by: first he said, listen to my words,” and shortly after that, Peter said, “hear these words.” These words are emphasized and appear to be commands because Jesus declared that “we are all witnesses” of all these things so we “cannot but speak.” (Acts 4:20)

2. Communion

The story of the resurrection is also a story of communion and relationship. After Jesus resurrected from the dead, he appeared to his disciples and instructed them to go to Galilee and he said that it will be there that He will “see” them. The geographical location is significant in this case because Jesus wanted to re-establish a new relationship with his disciples not in Jerusalem where all the tragic events happened that led to his Crucifixion and death but in Galilee to refresh them of their nice memories where they first saw Jesus performing the first miracle (feeding of the five thousand), the call of His first disciples, it was in Galilee also that He first proclaimed about the Kingdom of God, and he healed the infirmed with various diseases in Galilee, etc. Galilee is associated with “being with” Christ manifested by his solidarity with those who were sad, alone, and troubled because of the Crucifixion and all that had happened before His resurrection. In Galilee, we were told that when Jesus saw them, He “met them on their way and greeted them.” These words marked Jesus’ way of building the relationship and the communion of both sinners and saints.

3. Triumph

The disciples recounted that truth and untruth have contended in a stupendous combat. We are told that the resurrection of the Lord caused mixed feelings like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were described as “fearful yet overjoyed.” Confusion was also experienced by both the disciples of the Lord, on the one hand, and the chief priests and the soldiers, on the other. Because of this, two conflicting stories emanated. The disciples told the true story about Jesus’ mysterious resurrection through the experience of the empty tomb while the chief priests bribed the soldiers just to persuade them to tell a fabricated story to justify over the loss of the body of Jesus, otherwise the governor would get angry or should they be blamed. They instructed the soldiers, if ever asked by the governor: “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep. And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The disciples became witnesses of the triumph of the good and the truth over falsehood and mere fabrication of the story. Easter is the triumph of the good over evil. The Gospel says: it is believing that “Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs.”