ST. JOSEPH, LEGAL FATHER OF JESUS AND “NEW MAN”

December 21, 2010

VATICAN CITY,  (VIS) - At midday today, fourth Sunday of Advent, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Today’s reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew, he said, “recounts the birth of Jesus from the point of view of St. Joseph. He was engaged to Mary who, ‘before they lived together, … was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit’”.

In the text “St. Joseph is presented as a ‘righteous man’, faithful to God’s laws and ready to do His will. For this reason he is admitted into the mystery of the Incarnation after an angel of the Lord, appearing to him in a dream, tells him: ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’. Thus Joseph abandons his plan to repudiate Mary secretly, and takes her to him because now his eyes see in her the work of God”.

Despite having suffered some anguish, “Joseph acted ‘as the angel of the Lord commanded him’, certain he was doing the right thing. By giving the name of ‘Jesus’ to that Child Who upholds the entire universe, he entered the ranks of the humble and faithful servants, similar to the angels and the prophets, similar to the martyrs and the Apostles. … St. Joseph announced the prodigies of the Lord, bearing witness to Mary’s virginity and to God’s gratuitous action, and protecting the earthly life of the Messiah. Thus we venerate Jesus’ legal father because in him we see the emergence of the new man, who looks with trust and courage to the future, who does not follow his own plans but entrusts himself entirely to the infinite mercy of the One Who fulfils the prophecies, the One Who opens the time of salvation”.

The Pope concluded his remarks by entrusting “all pastors” to St. Joseph, universal patron of the Church, “encouraging them”, he said, “quietly to present Christ’s words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world. … Let us trustingly invoke the Virgin Mary, full of grace ‘adorned by God’, that, during the Christmas which will soon be upon us, our eyes may open and see Jesus, and our hearts may joy at this incredible encounter of love”.

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