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How St. Joseph Might Tell the Story - Weekday Homily Video

How St. Joseph Might Tell the Story - Weekday Homily Video

Learn more about our faith  |  Holy lives of inspiration

I love Saint Joseph, a man of action, silent action. While preparing this homily, I felt inspired to see how St. Joseph would describe his experience to other people. Let’s pretend that we are listening to a monologue from Saint Joseph, which I read a long time ago. It goes like this …

Yes, I’m still in the carpentry business, making a living by the sweat of my brow. It’s a tough trade, but I love it. Carpentry is a good living, and Jesus will be a good carpenter someday. He already helps me well as much as any 4-year-old could.

Well, let’s get down to the story. About 4 years ago, Mary and I became betrothed. Several months before the betrothal, some priests from the Temple came to me and said that there was this very special and holy girl, about 15 years old, who needed a kinsman redeemer and protector because she had dedicated herself to God and wanted to remain a lifelong virgin.

Anyway, shortly after the betrothal ceremony, Mary began doing some very strange things. For example, right after the betrothal, she disappeared. I mean, I couldn’t find her anywhere! It turned out that she went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, in Judea.

Mary was there about 3 months and then, when she came back, she seemed to be ill a lot, you know, throwing up and irritable and tired all the time. Well, I wasn’t born yesterday, you know, so I was pretty sure that she was ‘expecting.’

I thought to myself, “O.K., Joseph, now what are you going to do?” You know, I always thought of myself as an upstanding member of the Jewish community and a man of compassion and sensitivity. But I didn’t have a lot of choices. If I condemned her for adultery publicly, she could be sentenced to death by stoning. The husband-to-be, me, would be the one to cast the first rock.

So, I decided that Mary and I should have a long talk. To put it tactfully, our discussion was open and frank. I certainly told her of my concerns. But she’s such an upright young woman; I couldn’t believe she was immoral. Well, let me tell you what she told me. I’m glad you’re sitting down, because I wasn’t when she told me what had happened. And I nearly had a heart attack when I heard (and believed) her story!

According to Mary, the angel Gabriel came to her telling her she would conceive a Son and that His name will be Jesus. Well, Mary could hardly believe it because she had already consecrated herself as a virgin handmaid of the Lord. However, this angel told her not to worry … pretty strong stuff for a 15-year-old, huh?!! So, after I heard all this, I had a lot of thinking and praying to do. Believe me, never before in my life have I done so much praying!

Finally, I decided to send her away quietly to the country and then divorce her. But, a few days later, while I was sleeping, an angel of the Lord came to me and said, “Joseph, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child. She is to have a Son, and you are to name him Jesus.

Then he quoted to me from the great prophet Isaiah about the virgin giving birth to a Son. And we all know what Isaiah was talking about - the future Messiah. You know, Emmanuel. Not just the name, Emmanuel. Emmanuel - God is with us.

Well, let me tell you, this angel gave me one fierce stare, and I immediately knew that the conversation was over. In one split second, I was convinced of the truth of Mary’s words.

When I woke up the next day, I took Mary into my home as my wife. And the rest, as they say, is history. But, I’ll tell you what. Before I had my ‘angelic encounter,’ I wasn’t so sure that I believed Mary’s story. Now, after I’ve lived with her and Jesus, I believe every word of hers down to the marrow of my bones. Mary is so good, so humble, so holy, so pure, so loving. I really think that, someday, somehow, all people will call her ‘blessed’.

Let’s try to remember that Emmanuel means “God with us”. “God with us” … think about it! As we look at the baby Jesus in the manger next week, let’s try to keep the proper focus on why God is with us. God didn’t come to be a cute little baby. He came because of His passionate and fierce love for us. He came because of His commitment not to leave us abandoned. Advent leads us to the most passionate and intense love story of all time: God does not want us to go unloved for all eternity. God, the most passionate of lovers, wants to be Emmanuel, God, with us.

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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.

Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.