St. Joseph: Witness and Mentor During the Christmas/Epiphany Season

By Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski, MHSH, D.Min.

 

St. Joseph is one of the patron saints of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart. A careful read through our MHSH archives reverberates with attention St. Joseph receives through the gradual unfolding of MHSH history. Our prayer manual contains a beautiful prayer to St. Joseph.

 

 

 

Dear St. Joseph, man of God.

You, whose heart was always on fire

with love, and whose life was a

constant prayer and continual

contemplation, teach us the

perfection of the interior life.

Teach us how to model our hearts in

accord with the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Teach us how to live and labor for God

and our neighbor in the faithful

observance of our vows and commitments.

May we, after having honored and

imitated you on earth, eternally sing

with you, the mercies of Jesus, and

Mary.

St. Joseph, pray for us. Amen.

During these days of the Christmas/Epiphany Season we are reconnected with the two direct solitary references to St. Joseph by name in all of scripture. He does not speak. He listens. Both times it is in a dream that he encounters a call. Scriptures simply indicates he acts upon the call within the dream. He is the silent one in the crèche’ scene but the strength of his presence is the anchor for the early years of Jesus and Mary’s life.

St. Joseph demonstrates the power of listening, silence and acting upon the inner voice that calls us each and every day of our lives.

Pope St. John Paul II wrote an Apostolic Exhortation “Redemptoris Custos: On the Person and Mission of Saint Joseph in the Life of Christ and of the Church.” The Pope writes: “He (Joseph) took her (Mary) in all the mystery of her motherhood. He took her together with the Son who had come into the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. In this way he showed a readiness of will like Mary’s with regard to what God asked of him through the angel.” (#3) Through moments of ambiguity and unsettled questions, the Holy Family’s exodus into Egypt, and the remaining silent years, Joseph represents one who is open in deep listening to the movement of God and with complete confidence responds in faith.

Pope Francis’s pre-Christmas (December 23, 2019) reflection on the vocation of St. Joseph said: “The example of this meek and wise man calls us to raise our gaze and press ahead. The surprising logic of God isn’t about making calculations of what people will accept, but of opening their hearts “to new horizons, to Christ and his word.”

As Mission Helpers move forward into a new period of our history, we discover the silent, firm faith and presence of St. Joseph modeling for us the way into the future.

Jesus Blessed History

A Reflection for the Third Week of Advent by Sr. Donna Fannon, MHSH

Reading I: Isaiah 35:1-6A, 10
Psalm Response: Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
Reading II: James 5:7-10
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11

advent-3-no-joyOn Saturday of this Third Week of Advent the Gospel is taken from the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel—the Genealogy of Jesus (Mt 1:1-17).  As we meditate on this list of Jesus’ ancestors we might remember that as human beings we do not live in isolation.  Each of us is related to a collection of people who have gone before us.  We are all part of the web of life.

If we look carefully at this list of men and women that begins with Abraham and concludes with Mary we might be reminded that Jesus’ family tree is not so different from our own, containing many people who have done good deeds, some who have taken advantage of others, some who have lived in troubling relationships, and all who have succumbed to sin in one way or another.  We might also notice that some were Gentiles and some were pagans.

How comforting for us to have so much in common with the Holy Family…to know that Jesus is flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone.

Ponderings:

  • How seriously do I reflect on my unique genealogy?
  • Do I consider the gifts I have received through my ancestors? Can I give thanks for them…and find ways to share them with others?  How can I help to “build up the Kingdom” with these gifts?
  • How do I treat the unsavory parts of my genealogy (and my personality)? Can I accept myself as I am?   Can I accept others as they are?
  • Can I name some of my shortcomings and work on softening the rough edges? Can I find ways to be happy living in an imperfect world?