Pope Francis has dubbed this new Liturgical year the “Year of St. Joseph”. When I took time to reflect on this decision, I tried to place myself in Joseph’s shoes. He was an “ordinary” man. He came from humble beginnings, he was born with sin (unlike his wife, Mary), and he was a faithful man who tried to live in accordance with God’s word. Now I imagine him discovering that his wife Mary is with child – a child he did not conceive. His whole world shifted in that moment. He uprooted his entire life to serve and protect a child that was not his by blood. He made sacrifices every day to ensure the safety of Jesus and Mary, all the while accepting the unpredictable path God laid for him.
Joseph is a reminder to us all that, while we may be “ordinary” people, we are called to love others just as God the Father loves us. Sometimes it can be hard for us to comprehend who God the Father is. Yes, we can see glimpses of Him through art, in the Mass, or in our personal prayer. However – we must remember that God is everywhere, which means He dwells within each of us. Just as Joseph was called, we will all be called to make great sacrifices in our lives. God understands this form of suffering, as He sent His son Jesus to experience every human thing. He knows we are broken. He sees our weakness and our temptation toward sin. He knows how hard some sacrifices are to make. However, just like Joseph, we can find strength through God to carry us through these hard times.
So as we celebrate Joseph this year, let us remember and acknowledge the sacrifices he made. May we embody the same strength he carried with him – and let us be ever grateful for the guidance he provided to the man who would become the Christ – who now leads us to paradise.