By: Father Boby John, C.S.C. on January 27th, 2023
Sleeping St. Joseph and Me - Family Reflection Video
In today’s parable, Jesus presents the farmer as a beholder of miracles. He would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.
The farmer cannot manufacture a seed. He can only select the seed, plant it in the right conditions, irrigate it with water and give fertilizer when needed. The result is powerful. From one seed comes a plant that produces grain, fruit, or vegetables much more valuable than the original seed he planted.
On my bedside table, I have five essential things. First used to be an alarm clock, which is now replaced with my mobile phone to make sure I don’t oversleep. Second is a reading lamp because sometimes I like to read before I sleep, especially if I am not falling right to sleep. Third, my latest addition, a pill bottle, I keep it there so that I won’t forget to take my pill. Fourth, my Rosary for my daily devotion to Our Lady. And lastly, a statue of my favorite Sleeping Saint Joseph.
The image of the Sleeping Saint Joseph is not a charm for sleepless nights, so I don’t prescribe this image for insomniacs. I love this image of Saint Joseph as it is an expression of a spirituality of trust, of confident surrender to God’s providence. I kept the Sleeping St. Joseph busy when I was working in the school in India. I always used to write my plans, projects, and problems all on a sheet of paper and placed it under the statue of Sleeping St. Joseph from time to time and asked him to pray over it and take it to God while he dreamt, and while I slept.
The Sleeping Saint Joseph helps us develop a closer intimacy with God and helps us to discover the blessings of rest, for it is through rest that we are most open to receiving God in our lives. When God speaks to you in your rest, you can trust His word and wake up from your “sleep” and respond to God’s call.
Every time I retire in the evening, I commend to the Lord all my efforts and labor for the day. Whenever I behold the image of the Sleeping Saint Joseph, I call to mind one of my favorite psalms (Psalm 127). It goes, “If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor”.
Mind you, St. Joseph is portrayed as sleeping not because he is lazy. Scripture tells us that Joseph did everything that the angel commanded him (Matthew 1:24). But he can sleep because he knows his efforts can only go so far. After doing everything he could, he trusts that God will supply what is lacking in his efforts. After all, “if the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor.”
This is why Jesus teaches the Parable of the Sower who tills the ground and scatters seed, then goes to sleep because “the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head” (Mark 4:26-28).
Like Saint Joseph and the sower, God is our active and faithful partner in the project we call life. Let us labor all we can—and then sleep blissfully at night.
Work as if everything depended on you. Pray as if everything depended on God.
- Father Boby's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
- To view Rosary prayer and Mass streaming live, please visit our Facebook page at 11:30 am EDT, Monday – Friday. Please invite your loved ones to join us too! (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
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.