SCRANTON – Saint Joseph was a simple, quiet and humble man who listened carefully to the voice of God and we should all give thanks for the example of his life, his faith and his trust in God’s plan.
That was the message Bishop Joseph C. Bambera delivered in his homily during a Mass celebrating the Solemnity of Saint Joseph on March 19, 2021 at the Cathedral of Saint Peter. The Mass also served as the ‘Closing Mass’ for a Year of Saint Joseph celebrated in the Diocese of Scranton, which began exactly one year earlier.
“It is not at all by coincidence that while we in the Church of Scranton have dedicated this past year to Joseph, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, on behalf of the universal Church, dedicated a year to him as well,” the bishop said.
As the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and caretaker of Jesus, the bishop said Saint Joseph’s life speaks to our lives as well.
“Saint Matthew, in the opening chapter of his gospel, lays groundwork for the birth of Jesus. He reminds us that when Mary was engaged to Joseph – but before they lived together – she was found with child through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was rightly confused about this and wanted to divorce her quietly, when suddenly an angel appeared to him in a dream saying ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife,’” Bishop Bambera said. “These are key words in the life of Joseph, ‘Do not fear to take Mary as your wife.’ With these words, God entrusts to Joseph – the carpenter of Nazareth – the mystery of salvation.”
As the result of Saint Joseph’s openness to embrace the mystery of God’s plan, Bishop Bambera told the faithful gathered at the Cathedral that he grew as a man of faith and found himself committed to his vocation.
“Saint Joseph teaches us so very much about our lives in relationship to God, doesn’t he?” the bishop asked. “Despite the fact that not a single word spoken by this great saint is recorded in the scriptures, he speaks eloquently through the example of his life, his faith in God, his generous embrace of his vocation as husband and father and his care for the lives entrusted to him by God.”
Bishop Bambera also mentioned Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart), that was released in late 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In his letter, the pope explained how Saint Joseph, who lived in the shadows of the Holy Family, is like many others that often get overlooked like doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers.
In Patris Corde, The Holy Father writes, “Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – and intercessor, a support, a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
As he has done numerous times of the course of the ‘Year of Saint Joseph,’ Bishop Bambera ended his homily by asking for the help of this important intercessor, simply saying, “Saint Joseph, pray for us.”
If you would like to read Bishop Bambera’s entire homily from the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, please click here. The Mass from the Cathedral of Saint Peter is available for viewing on the Diocese of Scranton’s YouTube channel.