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Faith, Hope, Covenant

Lenten meditations on justice and peace

by Robert Waldrop

Solemnity of St. Joseph, Thursday

Readings: 2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16; Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22; Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24

From Abraham and Sarah, to David and Bathsheba, and thence to Joseph and Mary, perhaps two thousand years of covenant history -- an angel calling Joseph to faithfulness to his betrothal covenant with Mary, an unwed mother, and Joseph not the father -- this is a thread of love and obedience, not by perfect artificial constructs but by all-too-human persons, in diverse times, places, and situations.

Today our attention is drawn to St. Joseph, husband of Mary. He is a carpenter, a skilled worker. He stands by Mary, brings her to Bethlehem, flees with her and the Child into Egypt, and returns later with them to Nazareth, where the Child Jesus grew "in wisdom and stature and in favor before God and man," as Luke records.

His voice in the Gospels is not extensive, but his influence passes through all time to the present day -- father, intercessor, protector, and patron. Today let us call upon St. Joseph, and in his name remember the poor. Let us recall his example of fatherhood -- how he stood by his covenant of betrothal with Mary, how he protected her and cared for her, how he worked with his hands to provide for his family. Let us ask for his intercession on the part of fathers and families everywhere. Let us remind ourselves of his protection when we are in need. And let us commit ourselves to him as our patron and protector. May we share his faith in God's covenant, and may this be for us a strong source of hope.

Prayer intentions today:

+ For all homeless families, especially those who are refugees, we pray to the Lord.

+ For all fathers, that they will see in St. Joseph an example to emulate, we pray to the Lord.

Praxis today:

+ If possible in your area, visit and pray at a St. Joseph's Table.

+ Contribute to a charity or apostolate that is involved with feeding poor people (e.g. soup kitchen, food pantry, etc.). Alternatively, give food directly to poor people.

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