Fr. Ben’s homily for Friday of the 4th Week of Lent
Theme: THE SPIRITUALITY OF FATHERHOOD BY ADOPTION!
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Friday March 19 2021
Solemnity of St Joseph, Husband of Mary
* 2 Sam 7 : 4 – 16, Rom 4 : 13 – 22, Matt 1 : 16 – 21.
What is this big deal about biological fatherhood or motherhood that so many Christian families are devastated by it? Why do people feel so sad that they don’t have children of their own blood? I have seen so many parents sad and shattered by the frustration of training a child that has no resonance of behaviour at all with them; a child that behaves completely different from them and ends up breaking their hearts inspite of the proven fact of biological and hereditary affinity. So, why do couples kill themselves about having a child of their own blood ( even when the odds are against them healthwise) as if there is any big deal about depositing our genes on earth in order to remain earth – bound or what?
I am not trying to be apologetic about celibacy or the misfortune of infertility but I still don’t understand why couples kill themselves ( and break their covenants) about not getting their own biological children when there are millions of fatherless and motherless children out there looking for parental love and care. Many Christians are doing very badly in handling their maids and houseboys just because they have not been able to acquire the spirituality of fatherhood/ motherhood by adoption. Today, the universal Church celebrates a man who took up a child that was actually not of his blood and made the whole world to believe he was his. In the entire New Testament, Joseph is mentioned as the father of Jesus; in John ( 1 : 45 ; 6 : 42), in Luke ( 4 : 22), and in Luke’s genealogy of Jesus ( 3 : 23). He has become a model for all Christians on the spirituality of foster fatherhood and motherhood.
The following spiritual qualities are bequeathed by St Joseph as legacies to the commonwealth of Christian morality and maturity ;
1. Foster father of Jesus ; He went through the whole hurdles of raising Jesus with Mary from infancy to adulthood despite the fact that Jesus was not his biological son.
2. Obedient listener to the voice of God ; He was a man of prayer. Because he had a docile heart, the Holy Spirit converted his dreams as eloquent means of speaking to him especially in critical moments of family crises.
3. Perfect gentleman ; He swore never to bring disgrace to his beloved wife even when he did not understand some developments around her life.
4. Model of chastity and patron of celibates ; All celibates look up to him for grace to be able to stay with our young pretty christian girls, cooks, stewards and caretakers without scandal.Today, even Catholic priests, medical doctors and lecturers are finding it difficult to keep their relationship with their clients and students clean. Joseph lived with a beautiful young lady for years without touching her.
5. Patron of workers and fathers; All Christian labourers look up to St Joseph for encouragement, especially poor carpenters, masons, farmers, brick layers, junior staff in institutions, etc. Joseph the husband of Mary reminds all and sundry, that there is dignity in labour. Poverty is not a sign of curse otherwise, Jesus could not have chosen as his parents the family of Mary and Joseph, the poor carpenter.
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO