HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Fiesta Mass at Santuario de San Jose Parish, March 18, 2024  

Rev. Fr. Edwin Tolentino, OSJ, our parish priest; Reverend Fathers and Brothers of the Oblates of St. Joseph;  brother priests and assisting deacons; men and women religious; lay and civil leaders of the parish; devotees of St. Joseph; dear brothers and sisters in Christ: Happy fiesta po sa ating lahat!

Today, we celebrate the solemnity of St. Joseph, the husband of Mary. Implied in the title of ourgreat feast is St. Joseph’s intimate partnership with Mary – in faith and obedience to God, in raising Jesus asthe latter’s parents, and in hurdling the challenges of the day to day as husband and wife. Ipinagdiriwang natin si San Jose hindi saganang kanya lamang. Ipinagdiriwang natin siya dahil sa kanyang pakikikiisa sa Diyos at pakikipagtulungan kay Maria upang maisakatuparan ang rurok ng ating kaligtasan kay Kristo. Ipinagdiriwang natin siya dahil sa kanyang kaugnayan at dulot sa atin –tayong kanyang mga anak sa kanyang anak, ang kanyang mga deboto at parokyano.

In our first reading, brothers and sisters, we hear the promise of a firm throne and eternal kingdom to an heir of David. We know that this prophecyrefers to Jesus, the inaugurator of God’s kingdom and the autobasilea or the kingdom in person. This prophecy came to be fulfilled,not only because Joseph was of the house of David, making Jesus an heir of David; but also because, with Mary,Joseph formed his son Jesus well, inculcating the kingdom values in his heart. Napakarunong ng Diyos napumili ng isang magaling na karpintero ng puso upang hubugin ang siyang magpapakilala at magtataguyod ng kanyang paghahari sa lupa.

Among the many virtues that Jesus got from Joseph, our second reading invites us to focus on Joseph’s faith. Anu-ano ang matutunan natin tungkol sa pananampalataya ni San Jose?

First of all, St. Joseph’s faith shone through the dark nights of his life.In the gospel of Matthew, we are told that the angel appeared to him thrice,in his dreams,to give him instructions: first, to take Mary into his home; second, to flee to Egypt with the mother and her newborn; and third, to return to Nazareth and begin establishing his family as the father of the household. In all these, with no ifs or buts, Joseph immediately obeys the angel’s biddingsupon waking up. That, in itself, isalready a show of great faith.

But when we remember that dreams usually occur at night, when we recall that these instructions were given during Josephs’ most trying moments, then we will come to appreciate his faith more. Mas medaling manampalataya at sumunod sa Diyos kung tirik ang araw at maliwanag ang lahat, kung walang nakaambang  panganib, at kung walang sakripisyo at pagbabaliktad ng buhay na hinihingi. Subalit itinuturo sa atin ng ating patrong si San Jose na katiwa-tiwala at maaaring tayaan ang Diyos, na ang pananampalataya ay paninindigan, umaga man o gabi, at nasa mga panahon ng kadiliman, mas dapat sumangguni, makinig, at kumapit sa Diyos. Hindi nakapagtataka na sa gabi ng kalbaryo, hindi tumigil si Hesus sa pagtawag sa kanyang Ama sa langit.

Secondly, St. Joseph’s right relationship with God translated to his right relationship with neighbor.In our gospel, he is described as righteous. This means that he conscientiously observed the laws of his time and was thus recognized by the community as a just man. But, in this particular scene where he opts to divorce Mary quietly,we learn thathis righteousness springs from faith and not from the strictures of the law.While he had all the right to report her for the apparent sin of adultery, he was unwilling to expose her to shame and showed concern for the child in her womb.His faith in the God of love and mercy provided him a certain viewpoint within which to value, understand, and implement the law.This scene shows us that he did not only know the laws of God. More importantly, he knew the God of the law.And he enacted this through his decision that effectively spared the life of Mary and his child.

Itinuturo sa atin ng ating patrong si San Jose na ang pananampalataya ay hindi lamang naipapahayag sa dasal at sa loob ng simbahan. Ang pananampalataya sa mapagmahal at maawaing Diyos ay tumutungo at dumadaloy sa pagmamahal at awa sa kongkretong kapwa tao. Hindi nakapagtatakang binigyang-diin ni Hesus ang diwa ng kautusan, at hindi ang letranito. Hindi nakapagtatakang pinahalagahan at itinaguyod niya ang kapakanan ng kanyang kapwa kaysa sa kalupitan ng ilang batas ng kanyang panahon.

Finally, St. Joseph’s faith allowed him to embrace a peaceful death. We can surmise that Mary and Jesus were around him, praying with and for him, at the point of his death. Indeed, there is no better way to die. We thus know him as the saint to pray to for a peaceful death. But, if we think about it, with the prospect of leaving behind his wife and only son, in a highly patriarchal society,how can a father die peacefully? This could only have been possibleif he placed his faith in a bigger andbetter father, the Father in heaven.Looking back at his life, he must have discerned and recognized the mysterious but loving hands that took care of him and his familythroughout their journey. Such Father has not failed, and will not fail. He can therefore entrust his family to him and die in peace.

Itinuturo sa atin ng ating patrong si San Jose na ang pananampalataya ay absolutong pagsandal at pagsandig sa Diyos na nagdadala ng kapayapaan at kapanatagan. Hindi nakapagtataka na sa kahabaan ng kanyang ministeryo lagi’t laging nagpupunta si Hesus sa ilang upang tumawag sa kanyang Ama.

As we continue this celebration, dear brothers and sisters, we thank the Lord for the gift of St. Joseph’s faith. We ask for the grace to hold on to faith in the darkest of times, to translate our faith to love of neighbor, and to discover that faith is the secret to profound peace. Amen. (Photo by Maricar santos/RCAM-AOC | Photogallery)

 

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