St. Joseph, by Mary’s side at the Presentation –
April 2, 2020
Dear Family of Mary!
October 25, 1994 “Dear children! I am with you and I rejoice today because the Most High has granted me to be with you and to teach you and to guide you on the path of perfection. Little children, I wish you to be a beautiful bouquet of flowers which I wish to present to God for the day of All Saints. I invite you to open yourselves and to live, taking the saints as an example. Mother Church has chosen them, that they may be an impulse for your daily life. Thank you for having responded to my call!”
The Saint who picked us for the Rosary yesterday was St. Joseph, Husband of Mary! I felt like St. Joseph was reminding us not to forget him. He is with us in a very special way these days. And we need him very much. I want to share a beautiful homily given on the Feast of St. Joseph, just two weeks ago. It was given my Fr. Miljenko Steko, the provincial. His words are strong and powerful, full of faith and hope. St. Joseph is also strong, powerful and full of hope. And he is with us in these days because we need him.
Evening International Mass in Medjugorje
Feast of St. Joseph
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Fr. Miljenko Steko, OFM
Dear Brothers and Sisters, dear Parishioners, dear Pilgrims of Medjugorje, who are listening now through many media… May you all have peace and good in your hearts.
As we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph, we realize that he is one of the rare characters in the Holy Bible, because not a single word of his was recorded. The Gospel recorded many words even of the Pharisees and pagans, various types of sinners… but not a single word of Joseph was recorded. This is God’s mystery, the holiness of this man.
This man, who is, who was the one called Spouse of Mary, is the Patron Saint of the whole Church from the 17th century, even of our people. He, in an unrepeatable way, stands in immediate relationship with Holy God, as the one who was protector of God’s Son. His life, his work, his every day was in the service of God. St. Joseph is a great mystery and the evangelist Matthew wrote, for Joseph; that he was righteous.
What does it mean to be righteous? We find that described in the first Psalm where it says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffer; but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he mediates day and night.” (Ps. 1: 1-2) To be righteous according to this Psalm means to be immersed in God’s word; to live in the Word of God; to perceive God’s laws as Joy.
But we should never forget that in the Old Testament it was allowed, even to be the rule: Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Or, it meant, to return to someone in the same way as they gave us. Jesus, who with his life fulfilled the Old Testament law, but also mended it and made it perfect, requires from all the faithful of the New Testament a greater righteousness than the righteousness of the Old Testament. In several places in the Gospel, Jesus explicitly says, In the Old Testament it was like this, but I say to you, Do this.
Brothers and sisters, we know that St. Joseph alone was tested, and he experienced in severe trials. Let us recall these events. Let us remember the event in which the Gospel tells us that Joseph discovered that Mary is pregnant. He, in this great temptation, thought of letting her secretly go off. And the righteousness from the Old Testament would have given him the right to do that. But at that moment, God sent him an angel to urge him to do completely the opposite of what he intended.
The angel asked him to be the one who would protect Mary and the child. He – who according to the law of righteousness could have exposed them to death – he needed to renounce his plan. But the dream of having maybe many children with Mary, this he needed to renounce as well and instead invest it in the mystery of redemption that was entrusted to him through the angel.
With this, God asked Joseph to go beyond the righteousness of the Old Testament and to accept to live the righteousness of the New Testament – merciful righteousness – that Jesus only later would publicly reveal. How great was the demand that God placed before Joseph? Joseph, who was raised in the spirit of the Old Testament.
And Joseph accepted this great task. He was more awake to the Word of God than to all other whisperings. He lived in the Word of God and he invested all his life to preserve this mystery; to protect Mary, Jesus; to ensure that God’s intention and God’s plan was fulfilled in this world.
Let us recall a few other moments when Joseph accepted his role. There were new temptations. Politicians back then knew how to oppress and impose very many burdens. The commandment of the emperor forced everyone to be counted in the census. But Joseph wasn’t even afraid of that.
And with his pregnant spouse, he went on a long journey, the long days and the long nights, from the north to the south, all the way to Bethlehem. And there he fulfilled his civil duties. They were poor, as Luke evangelist said, there was no place for them in any inn. And the birth of Jesus was the moment, the gospel says, about which the angel had spoken to him.
He went to the Bethlehem stable. There was Joseph. He was deeply moved, a little bit ashamed. He is poor. That he, as such a poor man, was not able to provide better accommodation for the son and for his mother. But then again, angels were there! The angels again appeared with their words. They fixed everything with their joy, with their song, as well as shepherds and the wise men.
And then again, they had to flee; they run away from their home to Egypt to escape. But as soon as Joseph knew God’s will, he jumped up from his dream and fulfilled it.
Luke the evangelist, in a very special way, describes the event when Jesus was 12 years old, when he got lost to both Joseph and Mary. When on the third day, they finally found him, the Blessed Virgin Mary said, “Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously”. In that atmosphere of care for Jesus, for his mother Mary; in that atmosphere of family, we find St. Joseph – to this atmosphere we should come closer.
We should imitate that. In that atmosphere we should see our own life, our own relationship towards time and towards eternity. That God, just like Joseph in his dream, in our dream, in our public dream, may take away all the fears. Do not be afraid, God said to Joseph. May He say that to us. St. Teresa of Avila says that Joseph does not refuse any desire that God asked of him. Surely, he will not refuse us if we pray to him.
And we want to pray for his intercession in these moments, in this moment where all the fragilities and wounds of this world are shown. How the world trembles, worries, and cares. We all observe lately how something so invisible, this virus, that can be noticeable only with a microscope, and how it has changed the life of this planet. We’re strong. We don’t need anyone. We can do all. We are advanced even in technology, in the equipment. We think that the world is “under control.” And then, just with this tiny virus, everything is changed.
Life from day to day, throughout all eternity, all of history – humanity has felt its fragility. How everything is passing and mortal. We need so much Our Savior, Mary’s Son, to whom St. Joseph gave the name, Jesus. That He may look at us, that He may pour strength in our everyday steps. That He may be particularly with those who – hundreds in one day – are dying, with their loved ones, with this man, with me, with you, with us. That along with Joseph, in all of the afflictions, in all of the troubles, in all of the doubts, we may remain united with the Word of God; aware that Mary, Queen of Peace, holds us all in Her Heart and in Her intercession.
Therefore, let us stand firmly on the feet of faith, as much as we are hidden in our apartments, in these isolations and limitations, as well as tomorrow, before a new life. And in this communion, in silence, let us pray for all those who are seeking for the cure of this illness, that the Lord will send His angel, their angels to them, and in that way, that His will may be done.(Homily given on March 19, 2020 at the evening program in Medjugorje. here is the link: Evening International Mass Medjugorje
Thank you, Fr. Miljenko, for this wonderful and hopeful homily about St. Joseph. I believe we need St. Joseph in a very special way in these days. Please St. Joseph, hear our prayers and stay with us, as we cope with this pandemic, and all the other obstacles to life in our day. Be our protector and guide!!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
© Mary TV 2020