Engaging the Gospel: Feast of the Holy Family

Gospel – Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23: Joseph acts to protect Mary and Jesus and keep them out of harm’s way

Already in Jesus’ infancy, we see St. Joseph fulfilling his role as fatherly protector in the Holy Family. Warned by the angel, Joseph takes Mary and Jesus and flees to Egypt, and returns only after the angel informs him that it is safe.

Joseph continues to serve God’s saving plan for us, both as a powerful intercessor in heaven and as a model for us to follow.

Blessed John Paul II reminds us of this truth: “Inspired by the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church from the earliest centuries stressed that just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, that is, the Church” (Redemptoris Custos/Guardian of the Redeemer, 1).

Benedict XVI has encouraged us to learn from Joseph:

If discouragement overwhelms you, think of the faith of Joseph; if anxiety has its grip on you, think of the hope of Joseph, that descendant of Abraham who hoped against hope; if exasperation or hatred seizes you, think of the love of Joseph, who was the first man to set eyes on the human face of God in the person of the Infant conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary…

I wish to extend a particular word of encouragement to fathers so that they may take St. Joseph as their model. He who kept watch over the Son of Man is able to teach them the deepest meaning of their own fatherhood…Dear fathers, like St. Joseph, respect and love your spouse; and by your love and your wise presence, lead your children to God where they must be.

Homily of March 19, 2009

Question for reflection: What family concerns might I entrust to St. Joseph’s care?