2Sm 7:4-5a,12-14a,16; Ps 89:2-5,27,29; Rom 4:13,16-18,22; Mt 1:16,18-21,24a
It is the kindness and faithfulness of God that is celebrated in this Lenten Solemnity. This festival of Saint Joseph is not inappropriately dropped out of the blue into the springtime of our faith. Indeed, we celebrate a great festival of the Blessed Mother next week, the Annunciation. Both of these solemnities do not interrupt our Lenten preparation for the great Joy of Easter. On the contrary, both feasts speak to our hearts of essential truths of our faith. Indeed, on the most basic level, we cannot separate the mystery of the incarnation from the mystery of the resurrection. Both teachings proclaim the irrepressible dignity and universal value of all human life from conception to natural death. King David is given a promise, “forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations.” The LORD announces that David’s Son is His Son. The Eternal Son of God has taken on flesh and taken on the family of David. He is the perfect and definitive fulfillment of this promise. Indeed, the Father maintains his kindness forever in the Son of David who is also his LORD. Indeed, he says to God and teaches us to say to God, “You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior.”
The Prophet Nathan takes the desire of King David’s heart to do something great for God and brings it to fulfillment in God’s greater desire to do something great for King David. After all, in spite of all his failure, the Father loves David because he is a man after his own heart. The faith of the greatest king in Israel bears the fruit of a divine promise, “I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm.” There is nothing more trustworthy than the promise of the LORD. In his promise, King David’s disappointment about not being worthy to build the Temple of the LORD becomes rejoicing. How could the King not be glad to hear that his kingdom will be built upon the faithfulness of God and not his own or his son’s own virtue? Solomon, though wise and holy at the beginning of his reign, becomes corrupted by his many wives and their idols by the end of his days. So the Father provides another Son, his only begotten Son, the one True King, Jesus the Christ. Indeed, he alone is the perfectly faithful Son of God, Son of David, and True Heir of the Promise.
Abraham believed, hoping against hope, that he would become the father of many nations. This universal influence of faith is also captured in the life and service of one of Abraham’s sons, King David. He too hoped against hope that in one of his sons a Temple would be built and that all the nations would come to Jerusalem to sing the praises of the One and Only True God. King David believed that the LORD of his ancestors, the God who protected and gave him victory, is the Creator of Heaven and earth. It is through faith and not through the law that both King David and our Father Abraham received the gift of God. Abraham received countless children, and David received a Son whose universal Kingdom will never end. This faith of our ancestors, Abraham and David, dwells in the heart of Saint Joseph. His children are countless, and the faith abounds in their hearts. He protects and upholds the dignity of the Lord Jesus who is a helpless and defenseless child. Saint Joseph protects him within the womb, by not letting his Mother Mary be stoned. Saint Joseph protects him from the frightened king Herod, by taking the child and his mother to Egypt. Saint Joseph protects him from poverty and hunger, by working as a carpenter. Indeed, Saint Joseph is a righteous man, a man who hopes against hope that the Father’s plans are accomplished in this world and forever and forever.
It is so rare to hear about a father who is obedient. Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary, was not a biological father, but he was the son of David who gave shelter and livelihood to the Lord Jesus. He became, because of Saint Joseph, a son of Jacob, a son of David, a member of the royal family of Israel. In his birth, he fulfills the promise of the Father to chosen one Abraham and to the man after his own heart, King David. This just man, Saint Joseph beheld an angel of the LORD who said to him do not be afraid, do not be afraid of ridicule, do not be afraid of unfaithfulness, do not be afraid of unrighteousness. Have no fear that your espoused wife, the Blessed Virgin, is not a virgin. Indeed, the power of the Holy Spirit has conceived this child within her. “She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” He, this Jesus, will rescue the people from fear and from evil. Saint Joseph awoke and fulfilled the command of the LORD through his holy angel. We awake to the power of our faith, enabling us to hope against hope so that the whole human race will know that indeed, we are children of God. Indeed, all the children of God will come to the New Temple, the temple of the Body of Christ. Through him, with him and in him in the unity of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God The Father, we come to live and move and have our being.