YEAR A: HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF ADVENT
HOMILY THEME: The Heroic Role of Joseph’s Faith.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” * (Matthew 1:24)*
Yesterday, we read the genealogy of Jesus Christ; a genealogy that carries a lot of important persons who were instrumental in one way or the other towards the realization of God’s plan for mankind. Nevertheless, our focus of attention was on Judah, the fact that Jacob’s blessings singled him out of all his brothers thereby earning the title of one of the direct ancestor of Jesus.
If Judah’s involvement in Jesus’ ancestry was courtesy of the blessing he got, there is one person whose involvement came out of his own personal free will; someone who had every right as well as every reason not to be part of the story of Jesus Christ.
Only very few men will agree to the terms given to Joseph by the Angel regarding Mary. Only very few men will agree to father a child that is not theirs biologically. Only a few men will agree to stand in for or cover up for the “shameful” circumstances so to say of Mary’s pregnancy. Nothing of such had ever happened before that a woman became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Given that we are used to casting and binding (rejecting by force) the contents of our dreams that are not in line with what we want, Joseph could have as well woken up from sleep to cast and bind the Angel. But he did not. Why? He believed the dream was not simply a figment of imagination but something real; something beyond him; something that required obedience.
Joseph deserves a lot of heroic commendation for his Faith. First, by his unwillingness to put Mary to shame, Joseph showed that he believed that regardless of what people do, they still deserve respect. Secondly, by listening to the Angel’s words in a dream, Joseph, unlike Zechariah displayed faith in God’s ability to speak to us through dreams. Thirdly, by actually obeying the Angel, Joseph showed that he believed in the possibility of God taking flesh in the womb of a person. Joseph’s faith should inspire us to believe that with God all things are possible.
Joseph’s faith should inspire us to believe that regardless of what people are saying, truth can never be hidden. If Joseph had followed public opinion, he would have abandoned the Angel’s words but he believed against all odds and in the end, he was vindicated. Mary had truly conceived by the Holy Spirit, she wasn’t a girl who was promiscuous. The child she would give birth to turned out to be exactly what the Angel said.
Finally, Joseph’s act of faith should make us reflect again on the meaning of the word “Father.” Who is a father? Is it simply one who makes a woman pregnant or one who takes responsibility for the care and upbringing of a child? The role of Joseph in the life of Jesus not only authenticates Jesus’ real humanity, but it also proves that every child needs a Father to become all he or she needs to be. Without a Father or at least someone to call “Daddy” a child’s growth and development could be affected. Yet, it is not easy to be Father.
Yes, it is not easy to be a Father. I just saw a post on social media explaining why men tend to die before their wives. I am sure many of us have read the post. It actually outlines the many ordeals men have to go through once they become Fathers. In summary, being a Father involves doing a lot of unrewarding work for others; it is a life of sacrifice. It is like cooking a pot of soup without ever getting the opportunity of tasting it when it is done. Ever wondered why nothing at all is heard about Joseph after the infant narratives of Jesus?
I know today is not father’s day but I ask that you please take out time today to pray for your Father (most especially if you are like me whose father’s name happens to be Joseph also). It is not easy to be Father. It is not easy to be even a Reverend Father because like Joseph it involves fathering a lot of children who are not biologically yours, children even older than you. “Father-work” is a job with a lot of expectations and responsibilities, a job where failure is just not an option, a job where sacrifice is normal, obedience non- negotiable and work insurmountable.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, bless our Fathers. Keep them strong and endow them with faith like that of Joseph to love, care and protect their children. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Advent. Bible Study: Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-19 and Matthew 1:18-24).