The LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David,
‘When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”
R. (37) The son of David will live for ever.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness,
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. The son of David will live for ever.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R. The son of David will live for ever.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father
my God, the Rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.”
R. The son of David will live for ever.
Brothers and sisters:
It was not through the law
that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants
that he would inherit the world,
but through the righteousness that comes from faith.
For this reason, it depends on faith,
so that it may be a gift,
and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not to those who only adhere to the law
but to those who follow the faith of Abraham,
who is the father of all of us, as it is written,
I have made you father of many nations.
He is our father in the sight of God,
in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
and calls into being what does not exist.
He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations,
according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
Verse Before the Gospel
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, O Lord;
they never cease to praise you.
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.
Celebrant: In union with Saint Joseph, the man of honor and deep faith, let us make our prayers together, as God’s family, to the true Father of all.
READER: For the universal Church, that her mission of salvation may be advanced in every place under the patronage of Saint Joseph, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For labor relations in every land, that Christians will promote justice and integrity in trade unions and associations to guarantee just wages and dignity for all laborers, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For all husbands and fathers, dedicated to protecting their families and enhancing family values through their households, that through the intercession of Saint Joseph, their family ties will be blessed each day, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: We pray through the intercession of Saint Joseph to protect our church communities in Hong Kong during these difficult times, that God’s grace will keep us strong together, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For all the sick and dying, that Saint Joseph may console them in their struggles and suffering, and be near to them, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
CELEBRANT: Father, grant the prayers of your Church, and, at the intercession of St. Joseph, protect the people you have made your own. Through Christ, our Lord, (all) AMEN.
“Unwavering Faith in the Face of Confusion!”
Of all the well-known figures in Scripture, Saint Joseph is among the ones with the least amount of information available. He is mentioned only in small parts of both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and after the story of the Finding of the Lord in the Temple, he more or less “exits” the stage.
We know from the genealogy of St. Matthew’s Gospel is in the direct ancestral line of King David and tied to the town of Bethlehem. We hear of Joseph in three different incidents: an engagement, a pregnancy, and the story of a lost child. And while these stories are familiar to us, what is more important is an over-arching theme about him – Saint Joseph is a man of quiet strength, immense courage, and unwavering faith in the face of confusion.
What a blessed person St. Joseph was! He was called and chosen to be the earthly father of the Son of God and the husband of the Mother of God! He must have been in awe of his responsibilities and perhaps at times, he trembled with a holy fear in the face of so great a calling. And yet, we see Joseph doing what he did best: caring for and protecting his family with no concern for the cost to himself.
From his willingness to protect Mary, to his acceptance of the message of an angel in a dream, to his discovery of Jesus in the temple – he showed unwavering faith in the face of confusion.
Faced first with the pregnancy of Mary, Joseph showed enormous strength of character despite cultural norms to heed God’s voice through the angel and take Mary as his wife into his home.
Joseph embraced both Mary and Jesus in faith. This new family of Joseph’s was one built up beyond human understanding. It defied logic – but Saint Joseph approached it with faith .
Faith meant for Saint Joseph that he had to rely upon the voice of God speaking to him in his conscience. Yes, he relied on what the angel spoke to him in the dream, but that was a dream. People can have all sorts of dreams – sometimes even strange dreams. The human tendency is to question dreams – and not place too much credence in them. Joseph faced very difficult questions: “Was this dream really form God?” “Is this Child truly from the Holy Spirit?” “How could this be?” – questions similar to those that the Virgin Mary faced.
Such questions can only be understood and answered by faith. The Good News is that faith not always give answers. Faith enables a person to face the confusions of life with strength, conviction and certitude. Faith opens the door to peace in the midst of uncertainty. It eliminates fear and replaces it with the joy of knowing you are following God’s will. “Thy will be done!” Faith works and faith is what we all need in life to survive – more so now in Hong Kong than every before in recent memory.
As we celebrate today’s Solemnity of Saint Joseph, place yourself spiritually in his shoes. Reflect upon the depth of your own faith in the face of the very great challenges and difficulties we face these days. Can you – do you – feel God calling you to enter into some challenge in your life right now? If so, follow the example of Saint Joseph. Let God say to you, “Do not be afraid.” He spoke these words to Saint Joseph – and he speaks these words to each and every one of us today.
Faith teaches us that God’s ways are not our ways; God’s thoughts are not our thoughts; God’s wisdom is not our wisdom.
When we face difficulties in life – family problems, difficulties in relationships, hardship in our job, or feeling blindsided by issued we cannot fully grasp ion this COVID-era – Let God say to you, “Do not be afraid.” Each morning pray for the strength and faith to put one foot in front of the other, no matter what strange or unbearable situation presents itself. In the face of these problems, it would be easy to lose faith! But Prayer is the answer. PRAY – daily, often. Trust in God, and trust in those whom you love around you. Perseverance is needed. When nothing else makes sense, pray, trust, persevere: that is the path of Joseph.
God had a perfect plan for St. Joseph’s life, and He has such a plan for us too. Let us walk by faith each and every day, imitating Saint Joseph with quiet strength, immense courage, and unwavering faith in the face of confusion.
“Lord, enable me to walk by faith each and every day. Allow my mind to rise above human wisdom alone and to see Your divine plan in all things. Saint Joseph, pray for us so that we may imitate the faith you lived in your own life. Saint Joseph, pray for us. Jesus – we trust in YOU!”