January 03, 2021
The Epiphany highlights a critical and vulnerable moment in the great spiritual battle that we all are in. In St. Joseph we see God’s surprising strategy that we can all learn from.
- In the time of the Magi and the protection of Mary and Jesus from the powerful king, Herod the Great, we sometimes overlook the role of St. Joseph during the war of spirits.
- It is important of us to learn how to be effective in our lives against the war of spirits by learning from Joseph’s example.
- HUMILITY: St. Joseph’s humility made him receptive to the information needed from the Lord to protect Jesus and His future mission.
- FAITH: Because of his faith and belief in the message of an angel, he was open to receive and trust information and good intelligence to act upon.
- OBEDIENCE: Due to St. Joseph’s obedience to protect the Holy Family, God’s power and wisdom was able to act through him.
St. Joseph was chosen to protect Jesus and Mary during a critical time, when Herod was trying to kill Jesus. He was all alone against the power of the king. Because of his effective war strategy, sticking to the mission God gave him, in protecting Jesus and the Blessed Mother by his virtues of faith, humility, and obedience, Joseph was extremely effective and successful.
What is the lesson we can learn from St. Joseph as we are living in today’s world? We are in the same war and we are also vulnerable to the attacks of evil. By the strategy of St. Joseph’s humility, faith, obedience to God we can be more effective in our war against evil.
In the critical time we are living right now that God has chosen us for – there is an aspect of this feast of this event of the arrival of the Magi that we need to focus on – it is important for our time and could easily be overlooked – this event took place in our world, where there is a war of spirits going on and we are in this war zone this war of spirits – after this event of the Magi arriving to adore Jesus, what happens afterwards – there is King Herod inspired by satan trying to kill Jesus – it is no problem for him to kill a bunch of little babies – we see in King Herod the attack of satan the hatred of satan for Jesus and for those who belong to Jesus – those who resemble Jesus in a special way in their humility, innocence and littleness – here is a critical moment, also in this moment of the Magi as the powers of the world attacking the Lord and His people – especially those who are humble and vulnerable – so the Incarnation, when the Lord became flesh is a great moment in the counter attack of God – in a sense it is also a very vulnerable stage – thinking when the allies during World War II planning the Normandy invasion (D Day) – though they had a huge army with all sorts of resources behind them – it was still a very dangerous moment, because their forces would be very vulnerable – so much so that General Eisenhower who was leading, had prepared a speech in case it was a complete failure – he knew it was a real possibility – this is a critical moment in this great war – St. Joseph, humanly speaking is all alone to protect Jesus and Mary against the powerful king, who history knows is Herod the Great – behind Herod is satan – this event shines a light on Jesus and Mary and the three magi – there is someone who is often overlooked and remains in the shadow at this event and it is Joseph – as we are living this year of St. Joseph, it is a good opportunity to see what the Lord is teaching us through him – Joseph is the one chosen to have the courage and the audacity at this critical moment – we remember the event of David and Goliath – Joseph is much more outnumbered – the imbalance is much more extreme in this case…it is just Joseph against all the power of the king – Joseph doesn’t even know about the danger that they are in – in this critical moment the Lord is wanting us to reflect on His strategy…His plan, which is so different from ours, because we are in a war of spirits – it is important for us to learn how to be effective in that war – Joseph is the one entrusted with this mission – in this daring invasion in a sense coming back to this world – in a war deception and surprise are very important – we see that God Himself is using deception and surprise – He is hiding what is really happening – He is hiding the greatness of what is really happening in a very surprising way – Father wants to focus on three lessons we can learn – one is humility and how God uses the advantages of it – He uses it to hide who Jesus really is – Jesus in a sense is camouflaged by very ordinary appearances – not only does that hide Him, but it also makes Him a much smaller target – think on a battlefield the difference between standing upright and lying on the ground, which makes you a much smaller target – humility makes them much smaller targets – and humility protects them against the poison – think if Herod and the corrupt establishment in Jerusalem civil and religious establishment…think if instead of trying to kill Jesus they had accepted Him – if they said for Him to go to Jerusalem and they would honor Him and give Jesus the very best formation…put Jesus in contact with the most important people who will work with Him – think how dangerous that would have been for corrupting and compromising the whole mission of Jesus – His humility protects Him from that – the humility of St. Joseph makes him receptive to the information that the Lord needs to give, so humility is a key in this war – humility also leads him to faith – the second point is faith, because in a war it is hard to know what is going on and the enemy also is trying to deceive and surprise – good intelligence is key – accurate information and good intelligence is key – Joseph needs good intelligence – he didn’t know that Herod was trying to kill Jesus and so faith opens Joseph to good intelligence – to distinguish as we say the signal from the noise – to distinguish what is true and what is false – it is critical for Joseph to know what is truly happening and what is false or wrong human opinions – so by his faith in the message of an angel that Joseph is given good intelligence – he is alerted to the danger – what if he had not believed what the angel had said? – that happens all of the time – God gives a message and people don’t believe – Joseph believes this information – the information is telling him not only they danger, but is also telling him what he needs to do, because that is critical – he realizes he is in an extremely dangerous situation – what is he supposed to do? – if he makes the wrong decision, it could be the end of his family – so he is told to flee to Egypt – what if Joseph followed his own ideas and said it would be better to go Nazareth, because I know that country better – it might have worked or might not have worked – Joseph doesn’t follow his own ideas – he does what he is told…he believes – see how faith saves Joseph and his family, because he believes what the Lord is telling him – if Joseph had doubted what would have happened? – it might would have been too late, but because Joseph believed, his family was safe – Joseph doesn’t just believe…his belief leads him to obey – his faith leads him to obedience – it wasn’t enough for Joseph to just say that the message probably was from God…he had to do what the angel was telling him to do some people might have said that it might have been too hard to take the long journey to Egypt or they might have said they could talk Herod out of it, but Joseph obeyed – Joseph acted on what the Lord told him – because Joseph had the humility and faith and responded to what he was told by obedience the power and wisdom of God was able to act through him – so now it was no longer just Joseph against Herod and all Herod’s army, but now it was Joseph guided and protected by the power of God – that’s what makes all the difference in this battle – if it is just us against all the power of the evil, we don’t have much of a chance – if we learn how to connect and cooperate with God then it is the power and wisdom of God that can act with us – what is the result of Joseph’s humility, faith, and obedience? Jesus and Mary are protected – the mission can continue – these virtues of humility, faith, and obedience – some think these virtues aren’t realistic in this world…nice virtues, but not realistic – but these virtues that are not so nice, because they are hard, but are very realistic in the war of spirits to bring about this eternal victory – not all of Joseph’s life was dramatic like this moment – a lot of it was very simple and ordinary – it is one thing to have the courage to respond in critical, dramatic moment…it is another thing to persevere, when things seem very ordinary – one thing to arise to a moment of greatness, but it is another thing to have the strength to persevere in a long trial, a long trek through the desert, a spiritual desert – many others might have had a moment of heroism and not be able to keep it up day after day – they might have given up or they might have acted hastily – Joseph had the strength of perseverance, constancy not just to do one heroic thing, but to persevere in the long difficult years in Egypt and then to come back and remain hidden in faith in Nazareth – what does Joseph not do? – he doesn’t give up – he also doesn’t speak out – there is a terrible injustice – a deep injustice in his land and Joseph doesn’t speak out against it like so many of the prophets have – that is not what God was calling Joseph to do, so he didn’t do it – he didn’t even go preaching like Jesus and His apostles – the apostles were called to preach, but that is not what Joseph was called to do – the Maccabees had organized a revolt – Joseph didn’t organize a revolt – God called the Maccabees to do that, but wasn’t calling Joseph to do that – that is part of the greatness of St. Joseph to realize what God was calling him to do – Joseph did what God was telling him to do – Joseph was a descendent of the great King David and because of his success led to pride and arrogance, lust, and adultery and homicide – from that came centuries of disaster for his people Israel, which ended in his people being conquered and led off into captivity – much of it could be traced back to David’s sin – St. Joseph the descendent of David doesn’t seem like a great warrior or king – Joseph is simple and humble, but he is actually much more effective than King David in this war, because he completes his mission successfully protecting Jesus – at that critical moment at the very beginning, when Jesus was a little baby until He will eventually be an adult, Joseph protects Him successfully – when almost no one else would have accepted or believed, St. Joseph does, because of his humility, faith, courage, and obedience – what is the lesson? – we are in the same war – we are also vulnerable to the attacks of evil – we can learn from the strategy of St. Joseph’s humility, faith, obedience to God – a life that may seem very simple, but was extremely effective – ended by reading from the passage of Isiah that we had, today which is speaking about Jerusalem and also refers to St. Joseph – “ Rise up in splendor Jerusalem. Your light has come. The glory of the Lord shines upon you. See darkness covers the earth and thick clouds cover the peoples, but upon you the Lord shines and over you appears His glory. Nations shall walk by your light and Kings by your shining radiance.” Amen