Learning from St. Joseph

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

AS we approach Christmas, it is heartwarming to note that in our country, we have this blessed expression of popular piety called the Aguinaldo Masses. It truly shows the kind of faith and piety we have as a people. Though expressed with some human fanfare, it cannot be denied that such faith and piety is now deeply and thankfully rooted in our culture.

Obviously, there will always be elements in it that need to be purified, clarified, if not corrected. Any expression of popular piety will always have to contend with such predicament. But it cannot be denied that the faith and piety of the people in general is strong and healthy.

On this 4th and last Sunday of Advent, just before Christmas, we are presented with the story of Joseph in his role as the legal husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus. It is amazing that from practically out of the blue, he was chosen to play that very important role.

Somehow it tells us that the great plans of God for us can sit well and can be effectively carried out by ordinary persons and in the level of the ordinary and simple things in life.

God can use anything to convey his message and execute his designs for us. In the case of Joseph, it was through a dream that he was told about how Mary conceived Christ in her womb. It was sheer faith on his part to believe what he heard in a dream, and he immediately changed his plans to accommodate God’s plan for him and for the whole humanity.

While it is true that we can consider St. Joseph to be truly lucky to be chosen in God’s very mysterious providence as Mary’s husband and Jesus’ foster father, we cannot and should not say that if God wants us to be a simple farmer, for example, we would be less lucky.

The true luck and fortune is not in the kind of position or status that God would like us to have in this life. Rather it is in the love with which we correspond to God’s will and love for us. Comparing our position with the status of St. Joseph would be nothing less than pure envy, pride and vanity which are an anomaly for us.

What we should rather see and imitate in the life of St. Joseph is his total availability to God’s will, his quick and courageous obedience in spite of the many sacrifices involved. This is what truly matters in our life.

To repeat, it’s not in the position we hold or the status we enjoy. In fact, in the case of St. Joseph, in spite of his very privileged position and status, he remained obscure in the eyes of the men of his time.

Another lesson we can learn is that as long as we obey God’s will like what St. Joseph did, everything will be taken care of by God. St. Joseph managed to flee in haste to Egypt, bringing the child Jesus and his mother, to escape the rampage of Herod.

Yes, God takes care of everything. If we would just manage to be close to God the way St. Joseph was, then we would closely follow God’s ways which are always the ways of safety or ultimately those that would lead us to our eternal salvation, even if unavoidable sufferings may be involved. There is really nothing to worry about.

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com