December 18: St. Joseph

Published December 18, 2015 by Unprodigal Daughter

Friday

Today’s Gospel reading is Joseph’s encounter with an angel. St. Joseph is a bit of an enigma. We do not hear much about him after the story of Jesus’s birth. He is not present in Jesus’s ministries.  He does not have as many devotions or stories written about him as his wife, Mary, either. Most of wha we know about Joseph is based off of our own guesses and conjectures. For instance, along with being a righteous man, we can assume that Joseph was a simple man that taught Jesus simple acts of holiness.

We learn this when the people who question Jesus repeatedly mention how ordinary he must be because he is merely the son of a carpenter. Joseph also must have been very devout, to respect his religious vision, and respect the wishes of his wife. He had to be humble, since he would not be getting all the glory in the story of the Messiah. In the ancient Jewish culture, the landowning male was the most important family member, and he was supposed to be the star of the story. Joseph married Mary and raised Jesus, knowing that his position would be one in the background, instead of front-and-center. Joseph was meant to bring about God’s plan by NOT being the main character in the story.

Joseph sets an example to all of us on how to take care of each other, especially our families. The love of a family is the love of self-sacrifice and humility. It is sometimes taking a step back out of the spotlight in order to do what is best for the ones we care for. Let us pray for the same gifts of humility and self-sacrifice that St. Joseph had.

Opening Prayer

O blessed Joseph, faithful guardian of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, protector
of thy chaste spouse, the virgin Mother of God, we choose thee this day to
be our special patron and advocate and we firmly resolve to honor thee all
the days of our lives. Therefore we humbly beseech thee to receive us as thy
client, to instruct us in every doubt, to comfort us in every affliction,
to obtain for us and for all the knowledge and love of the Heart of Jesus,
and finally to defend and protect us at the hour of our death. Amen.

(taken from: https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/stjoe.htm)

Daily Readings

Reading 1: JER 23:5-8

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
“The LORD our justice.”

Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt”;
but rather, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north”–
and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.
Responsorial Psalm PS 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19

R. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

__
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

__
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

__
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous deeds.
And blessed forever be his glorious name;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

_______________________________
Gospel: MT 1:18-25

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.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

________________________

Multimedia

For an interesting look at who St. Joseph was, enjoy this clip by Fr. James Martin.

Additional Activities

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was known for having visions of Joseph’s life. Private revelations like this are not dogma or doctrinal, but they can assist in our faith. Read more here.

Closing Prayer

Blessed Joseph, husband of Mary,
be with us this day.
You protected and cherished the Virgin;
loving the Child Jesus as your Son,
you rescued Him from the danger of death.
Defend the Church,
the household of God,
purchased by the Blood of Christ.

Guardian of the Holy Family,
be with us in our trials.
May your prayers obtain for us
the strength to flee from error
and wrestle with the powers of corruption
so that in life we may grow in holiness
and in death rejoice in the crown of victory.

Amen.

(taken from http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=898)

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