During this season of Lent the Liturgy Committee determined that we should prepare reflections for our Masses based on the recent Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father Pope Francis. This letter was written to declare this year as  the Year of  St Joseph and  marks the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the universal church.

In this letter the Holy Father describes St Joseph as a beloved father. Pope Francis says “The greatness of Saint Joseph is that he was the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus. In this way, he placed himself, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, “at the service of the entire plan of salvation”.

But was this the service that Joseph became aware of when,  as we hear  described in Matthew Chapter 1:18-20;

 “Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.”

This situation must have sorely tempted Joseph as to whether he should continue the relationship. As we resume this passage we find;

“Because Joseph was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”

But as we read in today’s Gospel where Jesus is in the wilderness and tempted, the angels looked after him. This also happened to St Joseph when an Angel appeared to him and exhorted him to take Mary into his home.

Temptation faces us all and St Joseph was no different, yet in our prayer to St Joseph we recognise that ’To You, God entrusted His only Son’’, clearly describing St Joseph as a beloved father. Joseph listened to the words of the Angel and put aside the temptation to abandon Mary.

In this coming week let us also reflect on our relationship with our partners and our children and see where we need; “Blessed Joseph, to us also, show yourself as a Father and guide us in the path of life”

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