Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 19, 2024


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R/. His descendants shall continue forever

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord, forever singing your praise.

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.

The parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.

1.      Today we celebrate the solemnity of St Joseph. Concretely, two terms or adjectives are alternatively used to describe the character of St Joseph. He was a “just” man or a “righteous” man.

2.       In the light of the Bible, to be just and righteous means to be a morally integral person; to be a person of character and values; to be correct and upright in his dealings with others; and not to act wrongly toward anyone.

3.       In other words, it means to be blameless and clean before God and also right and benevolent toward others. In biblical terms, it is one who is turned away from evil and one who is ever loyal to God’s statutes and commandments. A just and righteous person is one who obeys the voice of the Lord, walks in His ways, and is intensely merciful and generous toward others.

4.       Joseph was exactly that. He was always docile to the voice of the Lord. That is why as soon as he realized God’s plan in Mary’s virginal conception, he promptly obeyed God’s will and gave up his decision.

5.       And even when Mary’s infidelity was so evident in human sight and thus she deserved to be denounced, he respected Mary and safeguarded her honour. He was more concerned for her right to a woman’s dignity and not a husband’s prestige.

6.       How often our justice is so unjust because it bothers only about individual rights and self-interests? How often our righteousness is unrighteous because it is nothing but self-righteousness? How often we may appear to be moral and just in the sight of the world but not really interiorly clean and pure in the sight of God?

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