By Deacon Adrian Cullen, Evangelisation Coordinator
Whether it is on our journey through Lent to Easter; or in counting the days until we receive our vaccine; or waiting, seemingly forever, for the pandemic to be over and so return to some sort of normality, we need to be patient and courageous like St Joseph, whose life, as for many of us, was turned upside down by unforeseen events. Pope Francis, who has designated 2021 to be a Year of St Joseph, urges us to look to St Joseph for help and guidance in all the challenges we face, particularly during this time of pandemic.
St Joseph, whose Solemnity we celebrate on 19th March, was as Pope Francis tells us in his apostolic letter Patris Corde, a man ‘in the shadows’. He is often unseen and unnoticed and yet it was his discreet presence and quiet courage that protected Mary and her child, Jesus, and so had an ‘incomparable role’ in bringing God’s mercy into the world.
Like St Joseph, there are many people across the world who, in caring for the sick, particularly at this time those suffering from Covid-19, may seem to be ‘unnoticed’ but they go forward with courage and perseverance. In some small way, in a way only they can, they show God’s mercy to those in need. Let us pray to St Joseph that he may guide them in their healing work.
For Christians, Lent is a time for personal healing. Whether affected by a virus or not, we are all a casualty of the darkness of self-centredness that infects our lives, which causes us to turn away from those in need and from God. In our Lenten journey, let us follow St Joseph, who shows us the better way; to let go of our worldly ambitions, to trust in God’s will, and with patience and courage to follow God’s only Son in the way of the Cross. Through prayer, fasting and acts of charity, we can learn to serve others first.
Whether it is through supporting the local foodbank, or going without as solidarity with the poor, or spending time in prayer with someone who is ill or dying, we can bring God’s love to others and in turn be open to the healing love of Jesus Christ. Just as St Joseph played his part in bringing the Christ-child to us, we too are to bring the Risen Christ to all those we meet.