As we celebrate the Birth of Jesus, Joseph is often the hidden member of the Holy Family. Fr. James Martin, S.J., recently wrote about this recently in an article in Slate.
Only in the Gospel of Matthew do we learn anything significant about Joseph.
Like his Jewish counterpoint, Joseph, the son of Jacob, he is a dreamer. In fact, dreams change his lives.
In today’s Gospel, Matthew1: 18-25, he is told not to put Mary away but to take her as his wife. Then after the visit of the Magi another dream leads him to escape to Egypt; in another dream he is told when to return home.
God continually send him dreams to change his plans – and Joseph responds faithfully. He is open to God’s plans.
From his prison in Nazi Germany, Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J., wrote this of Joseph:
Joseph is the man on the outskirts, standing in the shadows, silently waiting, there when wanted and always ready to help. He is the man in whose life God is constantly intervening with warnings and visions. Without complaint he allows his own plans to be set aside. . . .
Willing, unquestioning service is the secret of his life. It is his message for us and his judgment of us. We have crabbed and confined God within the pitiable limits of our obstinacy, our complacency, our mania for ‘self expression.’ We have given God only the minimum of recognition.
May our hearts be opened this Advent season to the dreams that God sends us, opening our hearts and lives to God’s Reign, welcoming the Child and protecting Him and all other children of the world.