Pathways through Lent

Weekday reflections from St. John’s in the season of Lent.

The Feast of St. Joseph: March 19, 2024

The Feast of St. Joseph on March 19 has always been a very meaningful crossroad on my pathway through Lent. As the daughter of a carpenter, I have found Joseph’s example of faith, protection, and love to be a source of inspiration and comfort. As we approach the grief and joy of Holy Week, Joseph’s obedience and selflessness merit our contemplation. From fear and confusion during a visit by and angel, to the likely scorn of his community, to a miracle in a manger, to an emergency move to a foreign land, to the sheer panic at the possible loss of a young boy in the Passover throngs in Jerusalem, Joseph was always there as earthly father to the Messiah. In uncertainty, weakness, and discomfort, he put his faith in the grace and power of God to transform his life. Joseph lived into that faith constantly, saying “yes” to God’s plan. Life never got easier for Joseph. His call to be a loving provider for the Holy Family revealed his dependence on God’s grace. Through it all he chose to persevere. He understood his frailty and trusted in God’s providence.

As I watch my three-year-old grandson “work” with his toy tools, my own father’s words echo in my mind as I wonder what must Joseph have thought as he instructed the Savior to “measure twice and cut once” and “be careful, Jesus, that saw is sharp.”

What a responsibility. What inspiring faith and love!

So, what do the vignettes we see in Joseph’s life reveal to us in Lent? He shows us how to protect and provide for others. Whether volunteering with the Refugee Ministry, serving at Grace’s Table, or answering other callings to care, we can follow his example of love in this season of Lent and always. The season is not just one of obligations, but of opportunities to invite Christ into our lives. Christ transforms lives today just as he transformed Joseph’s centuries ago. Christ is before us just as he was before that carpenter of the house of David.

Will we invite Him to come in and experience that transforming love? And how will we respond to the call of His mercy and love?

Prayer: O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his Mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands, through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Susan Cardwell
Pathways Contributor

Links to the appointed readings for today