March 20, 2009

The Secret Jewel of Joseph

Solemnity of St.Joseph
Matthew 1:16.18-21.24 “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had
commanded him.”

Saint Joseph is one of the least visible characters in the scripture. A friend of mine who is a devotee of Saint Joseph defines him as the hidden jewel of the New Testament. Reading through the first two chapters of Matthew, three common characteristics described Saint Joseph: Dreamer – Frustrated – Obedient.

He was a dreamer, but a frustrated dreamer. He dreamed of having a happy family with his lovely wife Mary. But the angel appeared to him in a dream and proclaimed she was already pregnant by the Holy Spirit. He planned to break off the engagement in private, but the angel told him to take Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:18-23). When Jesus was born, he dreamed of Jesus growing in Nazareth. But the angel appeared again in a dream and told him to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-18). When they were already settled happily in Egypt, the angel of God appeared again and told him to bring his family back to Israel (Matthew 2:19-23). Just imagine the frustrations of Saint Joseph. And yet, in all these events, I am touched how Saint Joseph lovingly obeyed God, “Your wish is my command.”

Looking back, the life of Saint Joseph is more or less similar to our lives. We are also dreamers. We have many plans in our life and for our families: a retreat in Baguio this summer, to migrate in the United States, to pass the board exams, to get married in two years, to win in annulment case, to buy new house, a new Philippine president, and many other plans and dreams. And like Saint Joseph, some of our small and big dreams remain a dream – unfulfilled and unanswered. We are frustrated. We blame God. We stop going to Mass and attending prayer meetings. We question God’s existence. We rebel against Him. Some of us change became a non-believer. Worst of all, we slip through anger, depression, and hopelessness. It pains us because we tried controlling our destiny but to no avail.

God wants us to plan and dream. God is always giving us a hand in our life. But sometimes, when our plans are not working the way we want it to be, or the way we want to see it, let’s open the possibility that God is offering us a better option. In times like this, learn the art of letting go and letting God. Have faith and trust God. He knows better than us. Learn from Saint Joseph. Be obedient.

My Tatay Francisco was a frustrated engineer. In my desire to fulfill the dream of my father, I took the Civil Engineering at the University of Santo Tomas and passed the board exam. But God made a turn-around in my life and I found myself as a Jesuit priest after saying yes to God’s promptings. Like my father, I ended up a frustrated engineer. But looking back, when I decided to follow the will of God and let go of my dreams, I realized that God gave me a better life. A friend of mine told me, “You are still an engineer – and a successful one, because you are helping the church build a spiritual bridge between God and His children.”

Sometimes, we may think that God is unfair for telling us to plan our life only to be told, “Do this and not that one.” But in the end, when we allow ourselves to follow God and cooperate with Him, we discover that God is not thinking of His own capriciousness but our own happiness: A life to the fullest! God has a greater plan for us. Saint Joseph discovered it. This is his most precious jewel!

What happens happen for a reason.

- Fr.Willy M. Samson,SJ
Carmelites Convent, March 19, 2009

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