“Virgin birth” and St. Joseph

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Word Alive — Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

December 18, 2022 / 4th Sunday of ADVENT / A

Photo: Little Nativity Scenes at Seminary Store in Christ the King Seminary, Quezon City

A husband once joked: “My favorite saint is St. Joseph. I can identify with him because I have no voice in my family. My wife is the ‘speaker of the house.’”

The spotlight in this 4th Sunday of Advent is on St. Joseph, who was indeed a man of few words that’s why little is known about him.

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The gospel tells us that he was a “vir justus,” an upright man (Mt 1,19). This is shown when he was confronted with the mystery of the pregnancy of Mary or “virgin birth.” Before they lived together, the Scripture says, Mary was found to have a child.

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Being an upright man, Joseph decided to divorce her quietly. But when the Lord revealed to him in a dream through an angel, that the child Mary had been bearing was from the Holy Spirit and not from man, he decided to take her to his home.

The conduct of Joseph shows what true uprightness means. The just man is not one who seeks only what justice demands or claims his own human rights, but one who knows how to temper justice with mercy.

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A contemporary example of this is the tragedy that befell the child of the track-and-field Asian champion Lydia de Vega-Mercado when he was run over by a speeding jeepney. She was devastated and deeply aggrieved because the boy was their only child. At first, Lydia wanted the driver to be imprisoned for lifetime but after a lingering, agonizing discernment, she relented and forgave the culprit, saying, “Nobody wanted this to happen. It was an accident.” (Lydia died recently).

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Even though Joseph was a foster-father, he took full responsibility as a father of Jesus. With all the trials and difficulties, he persevered to the end. For instance, when Mary was riding on a donkey. Joseph was looking for a place where Mary could give birth her child. Since, “there was no room in the inn,” he had no other choice but improvised a child’s bed in a cave where animals sheltered.

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A writer in “Word Today” wrote, “St. Joseph speaks no words in the Bible, but we see great deeds borne of faith and trust in God. A faithful husband, protector of life, hard-working provider and prayerful father, Joseph’s silent masculine piety is the perfect model for all men.”

Let’s emulate the faith, trust, and compassion of St. Joseph, especially when we encounter difficulties in married life, financial problems, and sicknesses.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. A husband gifted his wife with a bracelet. When the wife asked him why the surprise gift, he replied, “A four-letter word made me do it.” “You mean ‘LOVE?” she asked. “No,” he responded, “SALE.”

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Woman confessing to a priest: “Father, next in line is my husband. You know, these are his sins …” Priest: Excuse me, Ma’am. Why are you confessing his sins?

Woman: I was just giving you an orientation – you know, he might lie to you.

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