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Liturgical day: March 19th: Joseph, husband of Mary

1st Reading (2Sam 7:4-5a.12-14a.16): The Lord spoke to Nathan and said: «Go, tell my servant David, ‘When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name. And I will make his royal throne firm forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever’».
Responsorial Psalm: 88
R/. The son of David will live for ever.
The promises of the Lord I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness. For you have said, «My kindness is established forever»; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: «Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations».

He shall say of me, «You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior». Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him, and my covenant with him stands firm.
2nd Reading (Rom 4:13.16-18): Brothers and sisters: It was not through the law that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants that he would inherit the world, but through the righteousness that comes from faith. For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not to those who only adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us, as it is written, I have made you father of many nations. He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist. He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become the father of many nations, according to what was said, «Thus shall your descendants be». That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Ps 83:5): Blessed are those who dwell in your house, o Lord; they never cease to praise you.

Gospel text (Mt 1,16.18-21.24a): Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus who is called the Christ ­—the Messiah.

This is how Jesus Christ was born. Mary his mother had been given to Joseph in marriage but before they lived together, she was found to be preg­nant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her. While he was pondering over this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, «Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a son. You shall call him “Jesus” for he will save his people from their sins». When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do and he took his wife to his home.

«Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife»

+ Mons. Ramon MALLA i Call Emeritus Bishop of Lleida
(Lleida, Spain)

Today, the Church celebrates the solemnity of Saint Joseph, Mary's husband. It is like a joyful interlude within Lent's austerity. But, the joy of this feast should not be an obstacle to our advancing along the path of our personal conversion, as preceptive in Lenten time.

He who, looking ahead, tries hard to accommodate his life to God's plan for us, is very fortunate. And so is he who, looking around him, tries always to properly interpret others' actions by saving their good reputation. In today's Gospel Saint Joseph is presented to us in both aspects of goodness.

God has over each one of us a love plan, inasmuch as «God is love» (1Jn 4:8). But, at times, the hardships of life difficult our discovering it. And then, logically, we grumble and we reluctantly accept to carry our crosses.

Saint Joseph must have gone through a difficult time when realizing Mary «before they had lived together, was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit» (Mt 1:18). He was planning to divorce her, but «in all secrecy» (Mt 1:19). And, at the same time, when «an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream» (Mt 1:20), saying he had to become the legal father, he accepted it right away «and took his wife to his home» (Mt 1:24).

Lent is a good time to find out what God expects from us and strengthen our wish to carry it out. Let us beg God «through the intercession of Mary's husband», as we shall read in the Collect of the Mass, that we may advance in our path of conversion by imitating Saint Joseph in his acceptance of God's will and in the exercise of charity with our fellow men. At the same time, let us keep in mind that if «all the Church is indebted to the Virgin Mary, as we received Christ through her, after her, Saint Joseph should certainly be who mostly deserves our gratitude and reverence» (Saint Bernardino of Siena).