Friday, March 15, 2013

3/19/2013 – Solemnity of St Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Tuesday – Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24A


        The Lenten season is usually is a sea of the liturgical color of purple as we journey with Jesus through the desert during the holy season of Lent.  However, in the midst of our Lenten observance, we are wearing the liturgical color of white today as we celebrate the Solemnity of Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I am looking forward to the St Joseph Table that our parish of St James uses to celebrate Joseph on his solemnity.
         The St Joseph Table is an ancient Italian tradition.  According to stories that have been passed down about the St Joseph Table, there was a famine in Sicily many centuries ago. The inhabitants in a particular village in Sicily prayed to St. Joseph, the spouse of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, and asked for his intercession before the throne of God. Their prayers were answered. As the dreadful famine ended, a special feast of thanksgiving was held in commemoration of Joseph and his intercessions. This celebration became a tradition. Affluent families prepared huge buffets and then invited the less fortunate people of the village to their feast, especially the homeless and sick.
         Joseph’s role in Jesus life is celebrated each year in our celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas time.  As we listen to this story about Joseph protecting Mary and obeying God in today’s Gospel, it might be interesting for us to learn that for much of the history of the Church, Joseph was not paid very much attention.  However, now we celebrate Joseph as the spouse of Mary on March 19 of each year, and we also celebrate Joseph the Worker on May 1. 
         Especially during the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I like to point out to many men that St Joseph is a wonderful example for all Christian men, especially in his role as father, husband, worker, and man of the community.  We don’t know a lot of details about Joseph, but we do know that he was a man of faith, a man who nurtured Jesus and who helped bring him up in the traditions of the Jewish faith.  As we celebrate St Joseph today, may his example give us encouragement in our own lives of faith.  And my the example of the St Joseph Table help us to reach out to the poor, the lonely, and the abandoned of our society.  

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