Daily Reflections

Daily Reflections
Posted on 10/01/2019

3.19.20

A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

The gospel of the Lord

St. Joseph – the unsung hero of the Gospels

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph. St. Joseph is truly one of the great unsung heroes of the gospels. We don’t know a lot about St. Joseph except for the little information we glean from Matthew’s gospel. At the same time, he plays a pivotal role in the life of Mary and Jesus.

Joseph very easily could have walked away from Mary and moved on with his life – which many men of his time would have done. Instead, Joseph, at first, chooses to divorce Mary quietly in order not to subject her to shame (and probably stoning.) Then after hearing the words of the angel in his dream, he takes the next step and welcomes Mary into his home. After the birth of Jesus, Joseph adopts Jesus and raises him as his own son. And then after all this, he saves him from death by fleeing into Egypt to avoid Herod’s wrath. Again, many men, despite the dream, would have said thanks, but no thanks.

No one knows what was going on in Joseph’s mind and heart. I have to think that it was first and foremost his faith that helped him take such a risk. He did not know the future but he knew it was the right thing to do. Then, of course, there is that wonderful phrase he heard in the dream and written 365 times in Scripture – do not be afraid. I am not sure I could have ever taken such a chance; Joseph truly is an unsung hero.

Maybe in the midst of this difficult times we are facing as a nation and people, we need to hold fast to that phrase, “Do not be afraid”. Again, it doesn’t mean we throw caution to the wind – Joseph certainly didn’t – in the midst of the craziness of Joseph’s life with Mary and Jesus, he did what was necessary and held fast to his faith in the God he loved.

May we as a people of faith call on St. Joseph, especially on this, his feast day, to pray for us and to help us be inspired by his life. To guide us to take care of ourselves AND for one another in the midst of this time of difficulty.

Once again, know that Fr. Michael and I are praying for you. I will keep you all posted with any information that is available to me as we walk this difficult path together as God’s family.

 

3.18.20
A glimpse of the Kingdom of God

Many of the values that have shaped our lives, many of the beliefs we hold dear, were learned at one special place — the family dinner table.
  
At that table we learned our “story”: the journeys of our ancestors from small villages and cities across the seas to this table where our family now gathers. As you have heard, my father loved to tell the story of our family and from where we came. He was so proud of this ancestry. I wish he was alive to see Ancestry.com – he would have loved it. And in his stories we learned to be proud of our ancestry as well – both from our mother and from our father.
 
At that table, we first learned how to share and our responsibility to serve others before ourselves. Well, sometimes it was every person for themselves, lol, but we learned to make sure there was enough for everyone.
 
At that table, we came to realize how hard our parents worked to provide all that was necessary for our growth and development. My mother worked at Avon so she fixed dinner when she got home – while my dad took his afternoon nap (I inherited my love for naps from him). We would sit down to dinner and then my dad went to work – visiting clients and oftentimes arriving home around 9 pm. Usually with some candy for me – yes, I was the special one. Lol. Wait until my family responds to this.
  
That table was also the place where we first learned to live the values of the Gospel: gratitude, generosity, compassion, forgiveness.  And to be honest – we were not the Cleavers from Leave it to Beaver – there were arguments and the “silent treatment” but we always moved beyond any of that, even if it did take a while.
 
Despite whatever traumas or pains or grief we were experiencing, that table was the one place where we always felt we belonged; a place of safety, forgiveness and welcome; the place where we could be “family” to one another. This was especially true when my brother John left for Vietnam – I know, I have told this story a thousand times. I was a little too young to understand but it was the quietest dinner I remember. Many tears were shed and I think a sick feeling in the pit of everyone’s stomach. In spite of the difficulty of thinking he may not come home – we all supported him and each other through what was probably the longest year of my parents marriage.  
 
In many ways, the table of my childhood was our first glimpse of the Kingdom of God: the first place where we welcomed without fail, cared for no matter what, loved without condition. Not perfect yet – the Kingdom is here in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ but it isn’t complete and that is the job at which we, as His people, must continue to work.
 
This is a tough time for all of us and I must say a very strange time for me personally. I find it odd to not celebrate Mass at 8:30 in the morning with the people. I truly enjoy seeing everyone and finding out what is going on in their lives. To spend ½ hour to 45 minutes, depending on how long I talk, being with the people of SSPP and celebrating the Eucharist at the altar – our true table of strength. Like at the family table that has it joys and struggles – we as a family of faith will get through this Corona Virus. This time in our lives makes me realize how lucky we have been as Americans and the amazing country in which we live - with its joys and struggles. Be sure to take this time to spend with your family around the table where the Kingdom is certainly glimpsed. Pray for our country and our world as we face this difficult time in our history together. Fr. Michael and I keep all of you in our prayers; please keep us in yours.

Risen Christ, come and be the ever-present Guest at our family’s table, that your Word of compassion and healing may help us make our homes sacred places where we always belong, where we are always accepted, where we can experience your forgiveness and peace in our service and care of one another, especially as we face this virus together.