Friday, December 18, 2015

He Did As Commanded

By Beth DeCristofaro

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David (Jeremiah 23:5)

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. … 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.
(Matthew 1: 20, 22-25)

O blessed Joseph,
who breathed your last in the arms of Jesus and Mary,
obtain for me this grace:
that I may breathe forth my soul in praise,
saying in spirit, if I am unable to do so in words:
"Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give Thee my heart and my soul."   Amen.

Joseph is the patron of a happy death.  He certainly experienced his share of “deaths” within his life yet his life was a “yes” to God’s commands.  A death of expectations for a traditional, new life with a young wife took a sharp turn when the angel came to him with God’s instructions.  His life as a respected carpenter experienced a death as he and his new family had to flee for their lives into a land of non-believers.  He most likely experienced a death in his beliefs as his foster son began to “do my father’s business” which fulfilled prophecies and teachings which Joseph awaited as a faithful son of Israel.  Certainly, if he understood those prophecies, Joseph, loving dad, experienced a death knowing what end his foster son faced.

Jesus’ death was far from happy or peaceful.  He implored his divine Father in the Garden, reconciling and renewing his own “yes.” Yet he also had an earthly father who had modeled for him strengths that he would need to go through his ordeal.  Joseph modeled trust in God’s will, doing a good days work in caring for his family, courage in times of danger, faithful dedication to God as a Chosen descendant of Abraham.  Josephs’ witnessing hand was on Jesus’ shoulder just as firmly during the Passion as was God the Father’s.

Each of us who was born will also die.  St. Joseph’s sheltering hand will be there for us.  Say a prayer for a happy death today, when you are not expecting death!  And say a prayer for those who have died or will die during this Holy Season.

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