During Advent, there is much focus on Mary and all that her “yes” prepared the way for.  Today’s Gospel gives us another person who also says yes to God, St. Joseph.  We have no record of anything Joseph ever said in the Scriptures, but we come to know him through his actions.  He is a carpenter, an ordinary man, who desired to live out his faith as a good Jewish man of his time.  We know he is a “righteous man” who wishes Mary no harm when her pregnancy is revealed.  He trusts God enough to believe what he is told in a dream, and is willing to raise the child.  I imagine him waking up from this dream, blowing out a deep breath and saying “ok, here we go.”

Joseph does whatever is in his power to care for the new life with which he is entrusted.  He likely has all the doubts and uncertainties of any new parent, compounded by the knowledge that he is helping to raise the Messiah.  Talk about pressure!

Joseph was willing to give up the life he expected to have in order to respond “yes” to God’s invitation to him.  When God invites us to something new, are we willing to let go of our own expectations and say “yes”?

—Lauren Gaffey is the Charis Ministries Program Director for the Office of Ignatian Spirituality, and coordinates Jesuit Connections in Chicago for the Midwest Jesuits.  




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