St Joseph models for us faithfulness to God in “the most ordinary of ways”, said Wellington co-adjutor Archbishop Paul Martin, SM.
In his homily at a Mass at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Christchurch on March 19, Archbishop Martin, the apostolic administrator of Christchurch diocese, said the Year of St Joseph is a wonderful opportunity “to again fall in love with this great ancestor of our faith community”.
“We have, in this man, someone who models what faithfulness in word and deed looks like, and whose prayers for much of the ordinary things in life are so valued,” said Archbishop Martin.
Although not a lot had been written about St Joseph, modern people can relate to this saint.
“We live in a culture now when everyone is expected to do interesting and fascinating things, to have travelled the world, to have started new things, to have done surprising things that people wouldn’t know about and which are celebrated usually at the end of their life,” Archbishop Martin said.
And yet, he pointed out, most of us do not live a “spectacular” life.
“We just endeavour to do the ordinary things of life faithfully, living with an integrity between what we believe and what we do. We strive to do the day-to-day things of life well, and for us, as Christian people, we live with the hope of eternal life with God, and we prepare for that each day of our lives here on earth,” he said.
By St Joseph living out faithfully what God had planned for him — that is, being Jesus’ foster father and providing for his family — this has made St Joseph such a powerful saint in the life of the Church, reflected Archbishop Martin.
“St Joseph is the saint for living an ordinary life well,” the archbishop said. “However, if we left it there, we would be failing to see the other side of Joseph’s life and witness, which is so powerful, and that is that he was a man who was in tune with God.”
Archbishop Martin said that, when God spoke to St Joseph in his dreams, St Joseph “listened, trusted and acted on them”. The first time was when he took the Virgin Mary as his wife when she became pregnant, averting what would have been a great scandal at that time and again, when he moved the family to Egypt.
“He was a man who was in tune with God, and what God was asking of him, even when it went against convention and normal ways of acting,” Archbishop Martin said.
The archbishop said we can pray to St Joseph when we are “underwhelmed by the ordinary nature of life” or “struggling to stay faithful to living a life of integrity”.
“And when we come to our own death, or the death of someone we know or love, we pray for his intercession for a grace-filled death,” Archbishop Martin said.
Pope Francis declared 2021 the Year of St Joseph, marking the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX’s proclamation of St Joseph as the patron of the Universal Church.