Troparion Tone 3
Saint Joseph who had faith in God’s will against all odds and held fast to create the Holy Family as Jesus grew in Mary. Pray for us in the most challenging of times for all families, that we may be strong in our faith as you were.
Reading from the Book of Genesis
For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him
~Chapter: 18, Verse: 19
Reading from the Gospel of Luke
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
~Chapter: 1, Verses: 26 to 38
Gospel of Matthew
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.
~Chapter: 1, Verses:18 to 25
In our gospels this week we find Joseph struggling with the fact that his new bride from the temple is obviously with child. He goes through a gauntlet of emotions, shame, rage, embarrassment and doubts of many kinds. His sleep and daily life are so affected that God sends the Angel Gabriel, the same comfort he sent to Mary herself to assure Joseph all is at it should be. Joseph chooses to have faith in the Angel’s words and in God’s plans for the coming Messiah and is determined to create what will become the Holy Family of Christ. This was not the easiest and most advantageous for his personal or professional life, but his faith and new family become more important than social status or opinions.
The example set by this for our own faith can be applied to many situations, but let’s focus on one: Social obligations vs Faith. Social pressures do not butt heads with our faith as often in modern times as we are free to worship as we choose as long as we keep our social obligations and employment separate for many faiths and work life are isolated from one another. Joseph would not have had this luxury, being judged by his community for his faith would have also hurt his earnings as a carpenter within a Jewish community.
When faced with a choice between faith or social expectations whom do we choose or serve? The answer found in these readings is simple, faith. In all things we are to choose faith. For those of us blessed to be living in a time and place where faith can be our first and only choice in spite of social constructs, we must be grateful. For others the choices they make socially affect their ability to support their family and they must choose. Let us pray for each and every person who makes this choice, that faith becomes their strength and sustains them. May Joseph and his choice to follow God’s plan, be our own as we build families and God’s Church on earth.