Joseph’s Utterly Unique Vocation

The late philosopher and atheist Jean Paul Sartre one wrote a Christmas play called Bariona. In this play he tries to imagine Joseph in Bethlehem, and writes: “He [Joseph] feels himself slightly out of it. He suffers because he sees how much this woman whom he loves resembles God; how she is already at the side of God. For God has burst like a bomb into the intimacy of this family. Joseph and Mary are separated forever by this explosion of light. And I imagine that all through his life Joseph will be learning to accept this.”

Think of this and ponder it anew. Joseph’s vocation is utterly unique. He is the foster-father of the Son of God. I see in this man a model for making good decisions and for dealing with profound doubts. But the text of Matthew 1:24-25 says: “When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.” 

Obedience was not easy for this man, even with the appearance of angels and the clarity of the dreams God gave to him. He is a model of faithfulness to us as we meditate on the birth of Jesus during Advent. What is your vocation and how faithfully do you follow your course in life as you love the King?

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