Christ was born into a dangerous world. He was essentially an exile, and under the protection of Mary and Joseph who were to dodge those who wished to kill Jesus.
Today’s Gospel is a beautiful insight into Joseph’s relationship with his God. At the centre of Joseph’s mission in life was his ability to do the will of his Father. We already know that, by the time Jesus was born, Joseph had already made the decision to protect Mary and accept what would have been a pretty unbelievable story of an immaculate conception. He was a humble man, someone who knew how to act under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
In turn, it also became Jesus’s first mission to do the will of his Father in heaven. When the Angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, Joseph responded, acting on the words of that dream and taking the word of God seriously.
Joseph will have been a massive inspiration to Jesus as he was growing up. We can be in no doubt that Joseph showed Jesus, through his actions and his words and his devotion to God, how it is possible to always do the will of the Father. And so, in the words of the Our Father, and in all of the Gospel message, there is is this foundational seed of Joseph the foster dad, as he taught his little boy to be a man of prayer.
We might consider where, in our life, we are so ready as Joseph was to respond to the word of God. And even before we respond to that message, when do we actually take the time to listen? Prayer remains and undervalued necessity in life. For too many people, prayer is an action, a thing that we do. But prayer is more than that: it is a living relationship with our Creator. We all have this relationship hardwired into us. And all we need do is attend to that voice that is calling to us already.
As we read today’s Gospel, and hear how Joseph steered the holy family out of danger and into a place of safety, where Jesus could grow up healthily and develop into his earthly ministry, we too can turn to this same saint for direction. And so we ask you, Joseph, to guide us towards the Father. Please take us by the hand, and help us to develop our daily prayer, help us to be better listeners, help us to hear the word of God in our heart. And as we develop this relationship with God, we asked you to help us to respond in the concrete way that you did. May we not be frightened by adversity, but always be willing to follow the will of God wherever that takes us. Amen.