My Dear Sisters and Brothers! Since that disconnecting event which took place in the Garden of Eden we, the descendants of Adam and Eve, tend to be controlling freaks. We not only attempt to control life but as the human knowledge advances we reach for another forbidden fruit: to control birth and death too. However as the Scripture says: “In life and death we belong to the Lord.”
We could complain about our Godless generation but it is not a new story. It has happened before. Let us look at our First Reading from Isaiah. The prophet speaks about a king from his own time: King Ahaz. However the faithless and troublesome monarch wasn’t abandoned by God. The Lord of heaven and earth sent a word by the Prophet Isaiah offering the king a sign which would help in his unbelief. The king refused. Not out of humility but because he trusted more his own calculations and coalitions to address the difficult political and social situation he was facing. He wanted to be in control.
The Gospel for this Sunday shows us a descendent of King Ahaz: Joseph. Although from the royal stock, the husband of Mary wasn’t surrounded by royal privileges. He didn’t rule kingdoms and nations. He had as little as most of us have to deal with: our own life. Like us, that descended of Davidic ancestry, had his plans for his life. He wanted to marry, to have a big family, to earn his living, to be part of his Jewish local community. When his young fiancée “was found to be with child before they came to live together” he knew the child wasn’t his. He also knew that his plans for a quiet and fulfilling domestic life were shattered. So he decided to break up with Mary quietly, “he decided to divorce her informally.” “When he had made up his mind to do that” he was about to oppose God’s plans even if he didn’t know that yet, as he didn’t know that Mary conceived “through the Holy Spirit” either. That dilemma of Joseph can serve us as a mirror. It is part of our life to discern the will of God. However a controlling freak will never discern the will of God for him or her. Controlling freaks bring to the discernment their own prearranged plans. They would rather die than let those plans go.
The dream Joseph had could be easily dismissed by him as a phantom. Particularly that it was such a challenge to his own plans. However Joseph shows us that we are not doomed to live and die as controlling freaks. By being truly humble and open to the Holy Spirit we are moved beyond our own plans and calculations to be part of God’s plan of salvation for all people.
When I contemplate those few occurrences when we see Joseph in the Gospels I discover that he was a man of few words. To be precise he was the man of one word: JESUS. The Scriptures don’t quote any words of Joseph but we are sure of one word he said in his life: JESUS because he was the only one who knew about that.
As we are only a week away from the Solemnity of the Nativity of our Blessed Lord let us turn to this quiet man: Joseph to help us to be the people of discernment, the people who keep searching for the will of God and are ready to let go our own plans if they don’t correspond with the plans of the Almighty.
St Joseph, pray for us.