Psalm 89: Faithful Righteousness

Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

March 19, 2021

A blessed and happy feast day to all the dear Sisters of St. Joseph
who have touched so many of our lives over the years.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 89 as we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph.

Joseph is a beloved figure despite that we know him only in outlines. So little is said about him in scripture, yet we draw our sentiments from how he treated Mary and Jesus. Through their relationships, we imagine a man who was spiritual, thoughtful, faithful, gentle and wise. These conclusions have generated an immense devotion to Joseph over the centuries, one that I share. He is my go-to-guy in prayer when discerning and faithful wisdom is needed.

Example of a Prayer to St. Joseph

But, beyond devotion, our psalm today reminds us of Joseph’s true and clear significance in salvation history. It was through his house that God’s promise to David was finally fulfilled.

The promises of the LORD I will sing forever;
    through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness,
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
    in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

Psalm 89: 2-3

The person and life of Joseph is a lived confirmation of God’s faithfulness expressed centuries before in the psalmist’s hopeful proclamation:

I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
    I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
    and establish your throne for all generations.

Psalm 89: 4-5

Joseph was, as Paul describes in our second reading, a witness to “the righteousness that comes from faith.”  In other words, it is only because Joseph believed and lived out of his belief that God’s Promise was fulfilled in him and in the world he knew.

This is the deep lesson Joseph offers us, even beyond the stretch of our devotions. By faithful righteousness, Joseph – with Mary – became the new “House of Promise”. From that house, the New Covenant in Christ was fulfilled for all of us.

Let us pray to Joseph today
to be filled with our own measure
of justice that comes from faith,
and to act on it in the world
that God has given us.

Poetry: O Sapientia – by Madeleine L’Engle

It was from Joseph first I learned
of love. Like me he was dismayed.
How easily he could have turned
me from his house; but, unafraid,
he put me not away from him
(O God-sent angel, pray for him).
Thus through his love was Love obeyed.

The Child’s first cry came like a bell:
God’s Word aloud, God’s Word in deed.
The angel spoke: so it befell,
and Joseph with me in my need.
O Child whose father came from heaven,
to you another gift was given,
your earthly father chosen well.

With Joseph I was always warmed
and cherished. Even in the stable
I knew that I would not be harmed.
And, though above the angels swarmed,
man’s love it was that made me able
to bear God’s love, wild, formidable,
to bear God’s will, through me performed. 

Music: Te, Joseph, Celebrent

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