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Modern-day St. Josephs

A husband once said jokingly: “My favorite saint is St. Joseph. I can identify with him because I have no voice in my family. It’s my wife who’s the ‘speaker of the house.’”

san luis, fr. belThe spotlight in this Fourth Sunday of Advent is focused on St. Joseph, who was indeed a man of few words; that’s why little is known about him.

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The gospel tells us that he was a “vir justus,” an upright man (Mt 1,19). This is shown when he was confronted with the mystery of the pregnancy of Mary or “virgin birth.” Before they lived together, the Scripture says, Mary was found to have a child.

Being an upright man, he decided to divorce her quietly. But when the Lord revealed to him in a dream that the child Mary was carrying was from the Holy Spirit and not from man, he decided to take her to his home.

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The conduct of Joseph shows what true uprightness is. The just man is not a man who seeks only what justice demands or a person who demands his own personal rights, but one who knows how to temper justice with mercy.

Joseph could have had Mary charged. He could have had her condemned to die by stoning, a punishment for unfaithful women during his time. But he chose a course of action that would spare her life and dignity in the given situation.

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Uprightness is not a matter of “an eye for an eye” or “tooth for a tooth” but MERCY for the offending party.

A contemporary example of this is the tragedy that befell the only child of track star Lydia de Vega Mercado who was hit and killed by a speeding vehicle. The furious, aggrieved Lydia could have demanded imprisonment for the driver’s reckless imprudence, but after long agonizing discernment, she relented and forgave the driver, saying, “Nobody wanted this to happen.” She also thought of the poor family who depended on him for their meager sustenance.

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Further, St. Joseph is a model for all fathers. Their role as good fathers should be manifested by good example in word and deed. If they teach children not to gamble, drink, lie, steal, or be unfaithful, they should not do these, otherwise their children will say, “I can’t hear what he’s saying because I don’t see it in his action.”

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UNSUNG HEROES. There are many other “good and just” people in the world, but their stories are seldom splashed on the front page of newspapers or on TV. You see and hear all about rock stars, movie/sports celebrities and entertainers — not to mention politicians, some of whom are clowns, too.

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But how often do you hear about the people who quietly go about their work, helping and “being there” when they are needed?

Let’s say a prayer of gratitude to these quiet but dedicated workers–parents, teachers, mechanics, garbage collectors, nurses, caregivers, janitors, farmers, drivers.

They are our unsung heroes, modern-day St. Josephs.

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FAMILY TV MASS — is aired on IBC-13 (15 on cable) at 7 a.m. every Sunday and on international GMA Pinoy TV. Sponsor: BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, RDO 52 Parañaque. Presider: FR. JUN BALAY, SVD.