March 19, 2009 - St. Joseph, Guardian of Jesus

Today's Reading: St. Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 59:1-23; St. Mark 10:13-31

When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt...” (St. Matthew 2:14)

In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Imagine that your beloved fiancée got pregnant and you hadn’t been with her. She said the baby growing in her womb was of the Holy Spirit. Would you believe her? Would you trust that she hadn’t messed around with another man?

You wouldn’t. Because virgins don’t have children. It just doesn’t happen that way. So Joseph thought about dumping Mary quietly. He didn’t want to make a big scene. He was still trying to protect Mary.

Then came the first visit of many angels who would deliver God’s Word to Joseph. Angel after angel appeared in His dreams, each one delivering news of what God was doing for His people.

“Don’t be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. The child inside her is of the Holy Spirit.” “Get up and go to Egypt, King Herod is trying to kill the Baby.” “Come back home; it’s safe.”

Joseph didn’t wait to check with his friends or the priests. He didn’t wait until things were more convenient. The angels spoke, and Joseph did what he was commanded. He traveled by night, not knowing what would happen next!

Nothing is impossible with God. Joseph believed that Mary was actually with child by means of the Holy Spirit. He obediently took his little family from Bethlehem, to Egypt, to Nazareth. And all the while he protected the Child and His mother.

But this isn’t all-glory-to-Joseph day. We’re fasting from being the focus of our own faith this season of Lent, so we certainly aren’t going to make Joseph the center now, either! No, today we celebrate the One whom Joseph guarded. That little Baby Joseph protected grew up, was baptized a Baptism for sinners, taught, healed the sick, raised the dead, was betrayed into the hands of sinners, beaten, and was crucified.

Jesus did all He did for Joseph, His protector, who seems to have fallen asleep long before Good Friday. Jesus did what He did for you, too–-you who have never seen, much less protected Him. He saved Joseph. He saved you, too. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, from the house of Your servant David, You raised up Joseph to be the guardian of Your incarnate Son and the husband of His mother, Mary. Grant us grace to follow the example of this faithful workman in heeding Your counsel and obeying Your commands; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Collect for the Feast of St. Joseph)