Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Mar 12, 2024

Tuesday is the Feast of St. Joseph, the husband of Mary.  I am obviously a little partial to the feast of St. Joseph. Nonetheless, this feast gives all of us an opportunity to reflect on the example of faith that the life of St. Joseph gives to us. We do not know very much about St. Joseph except what the Bible tells us. He was the husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus. The fact that God entrusted to St. Joseph, Mary and Jesus, speaks volumes to us about the faith that this man must have had in God. St. Joseph was willing to do exactly what God asked of him even though he did not fully understand what God was doing. St. Joseph trusted in God’s plan for his family even though his feelings and what everyone else was probably telling him did not exactly affirm what God was telling him. In addition to this, what God was telling St. Joseph was coming to him by way of dreams and not some concrete communication from God Himself.

St. Joseph was a man of great faith and great love for God.  There are no recorded words of St. Joseph in the Bible; it only tells us that St. Joseph did exactly what God asked of him.  This reminds us that words are not the appropriate response to God, but it is what we do.  Our actions speak of our obedience and our love for God.  When we look at the life of St. Joseph, we can only ask ourselves if we would be willing to do all that God asks of us. Is our faith in God and our love for Him strong enough to enable us to do whatever God asks of us? Is God really at the center of our lives? We are so blessed to have much more on which to base our faith than St. Joseph ever dreamed of. We have the Risen Christ, the sacraments, the Gospel, and the Church to guide and to teach us. How much do we rely on these things in our daily lives, or do we allow the ways and means of the world to guide us instead?

As we celebrate this Feast of St. Joseph, let us try to follow his example of faith and pray as he did that God will strengthen us through the Church, the sacraments, the Gospel, and one another, to be people of faith with a deep love for God and our Blessed Mother. May St. Joseph guide all fathers so that they can lead their families to the kingdom of heaven.

PASSIONTIDE: You will notice today that our statues in church are covered in purple cloth. This is a tradition in the Church that reminds us that when Jesus went up to Jerusalem prior to the Passover and His arrest and crucifixion, He did so in a veiled and hidden way. So, the covering of the statues hides them from our sight as Jesus was hidden during the days before His death. Abbot Gueranger enlightens us with a mystical interpretation of the Gospel which, in former times, was read on this Sunday: As Christ hid himself from the rage of the Jewish authorities (John 8:59), so now he is hidden from the world in preparation for the mysteries of his passion.

“The presentiment of that awful hour [of our Savior’s passion] leads the afflicted mother [the Church] to veil the image of her Jesus: the cross is hidden from the eyes of the faithful. The statues of the saints, too, are covered; for it is but just that, if the glory of the Master be eclipsed, the servant should not appear.

“The interpreters of the liturgy tell us that this ceremony of veiling the crucifix during Passiontide, expresses the humiliation to which our Savior subjected Himself, of hiding Himself when the Jews threatened to stone Him, as is related in the Gospel of Passion Sunday [John 8:46-59, They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple (John 8:59)]. The Church begins this solemn rite with the Vespers of the Saturday before Passion Sunday.”

Fr. Joe Labak