March 23, 2021
Good afternoon and welcome to our series, entitled “ANLOAGUI: On-line Talks on St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church,” which is part of Holy Angel University’s FIDES 500 commemoration of the quincentenary of the introduction of Christianity to the Philippines. A special welcome and advance thanks to the Most Reverend Pablo Virgilio S. David, Bishop Ambo, for his gift of time by giving the inaugural talk of our series, entitled "St. Joseph, a Tender and Loving Father, a Father in the Shadows."
Today, we commemorate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Guardian of the Redeemer, and Patron of the Universal Church. In his Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde ("With a Father’s Heart") proclaiming a special "Year of Saint Joseph," Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as "a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father, a creatively courageous father, a working father, and a father in the shadows." Our Holy Father wrote Patris corde against the backdrop of a pandemic, which, according to him, has enabled us to witness more clearly the importance of ordinary people who, though far from the limelight, "exercise patience and offer hope" every day. In so doing, these ordinary women and men resemble Saint Joseph — "the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence" — who nonetheless played a very significant role in the history of our salvation.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we read: "and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly" [Matthew 1:19]. Joseph considered his wife Mary to be a holy woman despite the signs that she was going to have a child when they had not physically consummated their marriage. He, therefore, faced a situation that he could not explain. Precisely because he was trying to do God's will, he felt it an obligation to put Mary away; instead, he decided to divorce her quietly to shield her from public shame and the possibility of death by stoning.
Saint Joseph was an ordinary man on whom God relied to do extraordinary things. Throughout his life, he did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do. Saint Joseph’s obedience is especially seen in the fact that he obeyed the voice of God given to him in the four dreams recorded in the New Testament. We all have dreams, but Saint Joseph’s dreams were different. They were clear communications from God, and they required a willing recipient. Saint Joseph was open to the voice of God and listened in faith as that willing recipient. Saint Joseph also responded with complete submission and full determination. The commands Saint Joseph received were substantial and difficult. His obedience required that he and his family travel great distances, take up residence in strange lands, and do so all in faith.
In the life of Saint Joseph, we have a role model of someone who acts in an upright way and who trusts in the power and wisdom of God when faced with situations which exceed human understanding. We all look forward to the words of wisdom of Bishop Ambo as we seek to imitate the virtues of Saint Joseph.
Ioseph, familiarum columen, ora pro nobis! Joseph, pillar of families, pray for us!
Laus Deo semper! Praise to God always!