BY: Fr. Karabari Paul



‘…behold an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you..”

Today the Church in Nigeria celebrates Our Lady Queen and Patroness of Nigeria. Our country is consecrated to Mary. And more than ever before, we seek her maternal intercession. Strategic and vital is the role Joseph played as not just a husband to Mary but a collaborator in fulfillment of God’s saving plan for humanity.

When we look at Joseph in the Gospel of today (Matthew 2:13-15, 10-23), we might think how wonderful he must have felt to be chosen to be the earthly father of Jesus. It was a huge honour. He may well have thought that himself, but when he first found out, his mind would have been full of a lot of other thoughts. His reaction to finding out that Mary was pregnant was to try and get himself out of the engagement. The Bible tells us that ‘because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly’ (Matthew 1:19). From this we can see that Joseph was a fair and caring man. He didn’t want Mary to be shamed in the community.

But God had other plans and told him, through a dream, to stay with Mary and raise Jesus as his own (you can read about it in Matthew 1:20-21). This wasn’t the only time God spoke to Joseph through a dream. In the Gospel of today (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23), He also told him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to keep them safe from Herod, and told him when it was the right time to head back to Nazareth.

Each time God spoke to him, Joseph was obedient. He followed God’s call on his life, even though it went against the norms of society. Having a father who listens to God is an incredible thing, but we are not all in that position. Indeed, it is a blessing for a family to have a father who doesn’t question God’s position. Sometimes our fathers make decisions that don’t seem to be very godly at all. But whatever our experience, we have a perfect Father in God, who knows everything about us, knows how to look after us, and has the best in store for us.

This entity called Nigeria is drastically drifting towards a chaotic end; a situation that is even acknowledged by the very people who engineer her doom. Everyone seems helpless except to spread the net of blame. Our leaders and fathers seem to lack a sense of direction. And our children have become helplessly victims to all forms of negativity. Today, more human beings are killed than cows at slaughter-bench and we are all immune to the guilt. All the essential institutions that provide succour and social benefits have practically collapsed. While the peoples suffer these evils, those who have destroyed everything we value, take refuge in foreign comforts and hospitality.

But in all, we know that God’s promise holds true. And we rely on the promise in the First Reading (Isaiah 11:1-10), “On that day: There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him…. In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall nations seek, and his dwelling shall be glorious.” It is our prayer that God’s plan will be realized in our country, and restore our lost glories. May God have mercy on us, heal our country, bless and protect us all through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.

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