Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a
Today we celebrate the solemnity of a gentle and quiet protector, St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus. At his inaugural Mass, Pope Francis spoke about our call to be protectors. We have to protect the beauty and the richness of our lives; we have to protect the sacredness of our environment; we have to protect the innocence of our children; we have to protect the creativity and laboriousness of our youth; and we have to protect the wisdom of our elders.
We have a calling to protect the beauty of our humanity. This is God’s gift to our world. There is something rich, deep and beautiful about who we are. In our age, the battle to be ourselves, to be original is fiercest, because the clamor to be someone else, to be an imitation, to be a counterfeit is loudest and most tempting. This temptation is very deadly, because when we do not see the beauty in ourselves, we become blind to the beauty in others and in our world. When we are blind to the beauties in others and in our world, we become predators and not protectors.
To be a protector, we have to listen, like Joseph did, to everything beautiful and true in us. We have to listen to the angel’s voice in each one of us. We also have to trust in the angel’s voice and allow the family of Jesus into our hearts, our lives and our realities with all its consequence. We should never be afraid to allow the Lord to live in us. Joseph did; we can too.
Are you a protector or a predator to the vulnerable that comes your way? Do the brokenhearted see in you a symbol of safety, compassion and love or do they see in you a symbol of danger and condemnation?
May kindness, and love, and faith, and joy and the voice of the Lord not be strangers in our hearts. May God bless you with the virtues of St. Joseph.