Can you believe that we are about to be at the tail end of Advent. And this year we get a whole week for the fourth week of Advent. This coming Sunday’s Gospel gets us a lot closer to the Christmas story. St. Joseph is often an overlooked figure in Scripture, we have no words from him and he is absent from the Gospels after Jesus is lost around the age of 12. One thing St. Joseph teaches us is to trust in God. My lectio divina reflection ended up centering around trust in God.
I hope you’ll join me in this reflection and share your own thoughts in the comments. You can find the Gospel reading for Sunday December 18 at the USCCB website. If you need a refresher on lectio divina you can find a quick outline from St. Meinrad Archabbey. Remember to read the Gospel passage at the start of each of the four sections below (the ones that start with an “R” word).
Two short phrases that stuck in my head:
- This is how
- He did
REFLECT: What is Got saying to you?
Two things from this Gospel reading leave an impression on me. The first is just the words that open this passage: This is how. They are simple and most likely aren’t that noticeable to most people. Yet when I read them I sense a very deliberate, intentional use meant to grab our attention at the get go. It is as if Matthew is saying that “This,” that is his, story is the way it happened and any other story pales in comparison. You want to know about Christ’s birth, this is the story. Don’t go anywhere else, read this one.
The second thing that strikes me is Joseph’s silence and his action. This is easily summed in by two words: “he did.” But really, it wasn’t so much those specific words but more the impression you get of Joseph. He is a strong man, yet a caring and righteous man; he is a man of action, not of words. Unlike both Zechariah and Mary, he didn’t speak to the angel at all, no questions, no clarifications. He just did. He is a man willing to sacrifice his life, his work, his reputation, to protect and provide for Mary and her son. And he just does it. Joseph is a man that all men should strive to be like.
Looking back over my reflection here I believe God is simply telling me to trust in Him for all things. Trust in Scripture, you can’t go wrong there. And like Joseph, trust in God and be open to respond to his call when you hear it.
RESPOND: What do you want to say to God?
Help me, God, to hear your voice and trust in you. Help me to be open enough to not just hear you, but to also respond with trust. I pray that I can also teach my children to put their trust in you and to be open to your call for their lives. What a blessing St. Joseph was to Mary and Jesus! May my boys one day also view this holy man as a role model for their own lives. St. Joseph, pray for us!
Spend some time in silence after your fourth reading of the passage.
Share in the comments, what do you feel God is saying to you in this passage? How would you respond to him?