I have a feeling that many of us, when reflecting on the events leading up to Jesus’ birth, tend to picture them through Mary’s eyes. This is due in large part to the fact that St. Luke, in his infancy narratives, tells the entire story from Mary’s perspective. How interesting it is then, that on this Fourth Sunday of Advent, we read an account of the Annunciation from St. Matthew’s Gospel, but this time from the perspective of St. Joseph.
St. Joseph is a bit of a mystery to us as Catholics. We know he existed, we know he was a carpenter, and we know that he was betrothed to Mary at the time that the angel appeared to her to announce the good news that she would give birth to the Son of God. We know that he was present at Jesus’ birth, that he helped Jesus and Mary flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s persecution, and that he helped them to settle in Nazareth after their return from Egypt. We also know that he was present when Jesus was found in the temple, speaking to the teachers of the law. We can also assume that he died some time before Jesus began his public ministry. Aside from this, not much is known about him.
Since St. Joseph does not speak a single word in the Gospels, his life is a classic example of the saying that actions speak louder than words. We learn about his righteousness through his willingness to continue to take Mary as his wife, even though she became pregnant under suspicious circumstances. St. Joseph’s life gives us a wonderful example of what happens when we learn to place our complete trust in God. Placing our trust in God helps us to remain faithful, and it also helps us to faithfully live out the vocation that God has called us to.
St. Joseph’s silence is a reminder to us of the importance of finding time for silence in our daily lives. Silence creates space in our hearts, which can allow us to better hear God speaking to us and calling us to be of service to others. Silence helps us to get outside of ourselves, and truly see the needs of those around us. It is not always easy to find silence in today’s world. However, the more we work to create periods of silence, the more it will help us grow closer to God.
As we enter into this last week of the Advent season, I encourage you to spend some time in silence, preparing your heart to receive the newborn Christ Child at Christmas. May this experience of silence help you to truly enter into the peace of the Christmas season.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB