"Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus." Matthew 1:18-25
After telling us that salvation history has played out despite man's efforts or his fighting against such efforts, we see that a loving God will not be deterred in saving His wayward children. How He does it is spectacular: a wonderful thing we call the Incarnation! The second person of the Trinity purposely becomes a human being as well. He is born of young woman betrothed to a man whom God has chosen to give the duty of protector and provider to this new born Son. The son in question does not belong to Joseph. This son is not of mere human stock. He can't be. This Son bridges a gap that is necessitated to be bridged because of man's rebellion. Man turned his back on God by choosing to be his own god. Man, being immortal, broke faith with that which is eternal. Whatever bridges this man made gap must be able to represent both parties: he must be human for it was humanity that had created the rift; he had to divine as only that which is divine can bridge a rift with the eternal. What love God must have in surrendering His Son to a sinful people! He knows this Son will suffer at their hands, but will willingly give Himself for their sake; His act of love will re-establish the relationship with God and rebuild the bridge to eternal life.
Joseph, we are told, is a just man. He loves Mary. We might well imagine the betrayal he feels when he finds his bride pregnant and knows it cannot be his. Instead of acting in fury and indignation and exposing her to the law and its death penalty for adultery, he decides to divorce her quietly. He could seek revenge, but he does not. God chose well, did he not? But God is not going to leave Joseph in the dark. After Mary of course, he is the first to find out about who this child is. Two names are mentioned: Emmanuel (God is with us) and Jesus (God saved). These tell us what God's plan is. He so desires a relationship with us that if saving us through the gift of His Son is necessary, then so be it. Any doubts Joseph have evaporate and he does as instructed. Joseph is willing to risk whatever plans he had laid out for his life with Mary and surrenders them to a plan he knows will be greater. As the story unfolds, we will Joseph have to give up more, but what happens is far greater than he could ever imagine.
If we were to truly understand God's love for us and how His plans might just so much greater for us and those around us, we might mimic the trust of St. Joseph and lay our lives, our futures, and our paths into His hands. Do we do this? Do we teach our children to do this? No vocation can be found without such an open disposition. Pray, St Joseph, that the followers of your adopted Son might find the trust you did,