Topic: A Man’s Rainstorm and Rainbow, Father of Jesus: St. Joseph
Speaker: Br. William Ng OFM
Passages: Luke 2:41-52
Summarized by: Mak, Andy
There are three things we can learn from St. Joseph:-
- As a man that took up a rather subordinate position (in comparison to Mary, the mother of Jesus), how he looked upon himself as a man;
- From Jesus’ birth till the age of twelve, when did he call Joseph his foster father, and what role Joseph played in Jesus’ life; and
- How his humanity affected Jesus, since Jesus has humanity in him as well.
The seven sorrows and seven joys of St. Joseph are very interesting. His journey in life can have a positive impact on us.
The Seven Sorrows and the Seven Joys of St. Joseph
The First Sorrow and the First Joy
The first sorrow of Joseph is that, as his fiancée, Virgin Mary suddenly became pregnant. Joseph did not want to publicise this “shameful” fact, and wanted to divorce her secretly. Knowing his fiancée was bearing a child that is not his own, Joseph did not know what to do, and one can only guess what kind of hard feelings he had.
When he did not know why his fiancée became pregnant, of course he harboured hard feelings. However, the first joy of Joseph came as he learned that it was God’s miracle through his dream. His virtue lay in the fact that he could trust his dream and obey and carry out the will of God. These are the first sorrow and the first joy.
The Second Sorrow and the Second Joy
The second sorrow of Joseph came at the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born in the depth of winter, and Joseph was only able to procure a manger as his birthplace. However, joy came to Joseph’s heart when countless angels came down from heaven to pay their respects to Jesus. When he first saw the angels, he thought he was hallucinating, but he then remembered his God-given mission and that Jesus is the Son of God.
The Third Sorrow and the Third Joy
The third sorrow of Joseph is the circumcision (bris) of Jesus.
Circumcision is by nature painful, but it is an event that Jews celebrate. Why is Jesus called Jesus? His circumcision forebode the pain he would have to bear in order to redeem mankind. Joseph’s sorrow came when he feared the pain of circumcision and felt the vulnerability of the body. Such sorrow was something that men had to face by nature. However, his joy came when he remembered the name of Jesus, the Redeemer.
The Fourth Sorrow and the Fourth Joy
The fourth sorrow came when it was time for Jesus, the first-born son of Joseph, to be offered to God forty days after he was born, according to Jewish tradition in remembrance of how God punished the Egyptians by taking the life of all of their first-born as recorded in the Book of Exodus. The prophet Simeon foretold that Jesus would be opposed by many, and a sword would run through Virgin Mary’s heart. This is the fourth sorrow of Joseph.
However, the fourth joy came when Joseph learned that His pain and suffering would bring forth the salvation of men. What we can learn from this is that by listening to Simeon’s prophecy, one can learn of the salvation that will come for all men from the sacrifice of Jesus the Redeemer.
The Fifth Sorrow and the Fifth Joy
The fifth sorrow of Joseph was the fact that he learned through his dream that he and his family had to run for Herod’s plan to take Jesus’ life, and seek refuge in the land of Egypt. The fifth joy came when he beheld the idols of Egypt shaking in the presence of God.
St. Joseph once again learned that he must trust the messages God relayed to him through his dreams, and he should not be afraid of death and of the unknown.
The Sixth Sorrow and the Sixth Joy
After Herod’s death, it was no longer necessary for Joseph and his family to take refuge in Egypt, but his sixth sorrow came when it was time for him and his family to go through the long and arduous journey back to Nazareth. However, his sixth joy was the fact that he and his family could go back to their homeland.
What we can learn from this is to accept one’s fate, and the fact that one can heal by returning to one’s homeland.
The Seventh Sorrow and the Seventh Joy
The seventh sorrow of Joseph lay in the fact that he lost Jesus after paying visit to a temple. The seventh joy was the fact that he managed to find Jesus inside the temple.
The sorrow lay in the fact that even saints like him and Virgin Mary failed to fulfil their parental responsibility of taking good care of Jesus. This teaches us to accept ourselves despite our imperfections. The fact that they found Jesus in the temple teaches us to turn back and correct our mistakes. This is what the Bible tries to teach us: finding Jesus back in the temple, where He awaits always.