We live almost 2000 years later, in a very different culture, religion, and country than Mary and Joseph. Yet, Mary and Joseph’s life has something very deep to say to us about the loving way they had with God. But in the busyness of our world today, taking care of our own children, going to sport, housework, work, or even watching Netflix or Disney online we can lose a sense of the connections that Mary and Joseph modelled.
Prayer. We must step out of our business-as-usual and make time for God. Praying is the energy that gets things going and the glue that keeps things together. Not just spending time to pray alone, but praying regularly as a family or community. Saying to our loved one’s “Let us sit down and pray”. By reading the day’s Gospel, singing a related song, and by sharing prayer intentions. This is very counter cultural. But realise Joseph would have invited Mary and Jesus to pray together regularly. Do you pray with your family? As the Psalmist says “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Choices. St Paul writes “For when I am weak, I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Why choose the path that seems the easiest? Why choose moments which pander to the self? Why choose moments that occasion sin or a selfish desire? Mary was tempted. Joseph was tempted. Jesus was even tempted. Are you picking up a similar theme here? Mary handed herself over to the presence of God. Saying Yes despite the difficultly. Joseph listened to the angel’s dream. Whilst Jesus quickly rejected the temptation and placed his trust in God. We too are called to do the same. Like Mary who handed herself over to the presence of God. Trust. In our choices, do not forget God’s eternal presence. But, sometimes we cannot trust our emotions, or, sometimes we cannot trust our thinking, because they lose sight of God’s plan. Do we take the road less travelled?
Visualise. Take yourself back to the home at Nazareth. A simple house. Imagine you are there. Look around. Feel the cool air. The stillness. Wait you are not alone. There are people there. But, a time of great poverty and great need. A feeling of joy that over flowed as people came to the door. A feeling of joy that broke through the difficulties of in and around this household. A joy that tapped into God’s hope penetrating the suffering that they experienced. Not just Joseph, Mary and Jesus….but the people who came to their door. ….Now visualise your own home and way of life as a beacon of hope……a home that invited others to come to your door as a place of God’s joy.
Poverty. We forget that most of our world today lives in poverty. A poverty that moves far beyond a financial poverty. God is concerned with the injustices of our world and so to is Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Joseph was concerned with Mary condition once the angel dream occurred, Mary was concerned that the wine ran out at Cana and Jesus throughout his life made his ministry responding to the poor and places of injustice. Like God who emptied himself to become human (Philippians 2:7). We too must empty ourselves to be with the poor. Let us start making radical choices towards simplicity so as to be available for the poor of the world.
Community. Mary went out and visited Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-45). We too must go out and visit the poor and those in need. This begins with our own families. Spending time having a cup of tea or sharing a meal or quality time with those who feel alone. A simple phone call. To the edges we must go. To care for refugees because Mary and Joseph were refugees. To care for the homeless because the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head (Luke 9:58).
Let us be instruments of goodness modelled on the persons of Mary and Joseph.