Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Octave of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph

Ave Maria!

 

The Solemnity of Saint Joseph is celebrated on the Wednesday after the Second Sunday after Easter and during the octave following.  In locations where the feasts of the Saints are celebrated, each day of the Octave is commemorated with the collects of Saint Joseph, the Credo, and the Preface of Saint Joseph (in Masses lacking a proper preface).  In the Divine Office the commemoration is as follows

Commemoration for the Octave of St Joseph

Ant. Joseph, thou Son of David, * fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for That Which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost alleluia.

V. Thou hast given me the shield of thy salvation, alleluia R. And thy right hand hath holden me up, alleluia

Oratio God, Who in thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be holpen by the succour of his prayers to thee on our behalf;

 

In those locations where the Solemnity is celebrated throughout the Octave, the Mass is celebrated as it is on the Solemnity.  The readings for the Divine Office follow:

Wednesday (the Solemnity)
Lesson i
Genesis 39:1-6
A reading from the book of Genesis

    And Joseph was brought into Egypt, and Putiphar an eunuch of Pharao, chief captain of the army, an Egyptian, bought him of the Ismaelites, by whom he was brought.  And the Lord was with him, and he was a prosperous man in all things: and he dwelt in his master's house,  who knew very well that the Lord was with him, and made all that he did to prosper in his hand.  And Joseph found favor in the sight of his master, and ministered to him: and being set over all by him, he governed the house committed to him, and all things that were delivered to him:  And the Lord blessed the house of the Egyptian for Joseph's sake, and multiplied all his substance, both at home, and in the fields.  Neither knew he any other thing, but the bread which he ate. And Joseph was of a beautiful countenance, and comely to behold.

Lesson ii
Genesis 41: 37-43

     The counsel pleased Pharao and all his servants.  And he said to them: Can we find such another man, that is full of the spirit of God?  He said therefore to Joseph: Seeing God hath shown thee all that thou hast said, can I find one wiser and one like unto thee?  Thou shalt be over my house, and at the commandment of thy mouth all the people shall obey: only in the kingly throne will I be above thee.  And again Pharao said to Joseph: Behold, I have appointed thee over the whole land of Egypt.  And he took his ring from his own hand, and gave it into his hand: and he put upon him a robe of silk, and put a chain of gold about his neck.  And he made him go up into his second chariot, the crier proclaiming that all should bow their knee before him, and that they should know he was made governor over the whole land of Egypt.

Lesson iii
Genesis 41: 44-49

    And the king said to Joseph: I am Pharao; without thy commandment no man shall move hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. 45 And he turned his name, and called him in the Egyptian tongue, The saviour of the world. And he gave him to wife Aseneth the daughter of Putiphare priest of Heliopolis. Then Joseph went out to the land of Egypt: 46 (Now he was thirty years old when he stood before king Pharao) and he went round all the countries of Egypt. 47 And the fruitfulness of the seven years came: and the corn being bound up into sheaves was gathered together into the barns of Egypt. 48 And all the abundance of grain was laid up in every city. 49 And there was so great abundance of wheat, that it was equal to the sand of the sea, and the plenty exceeded measure.

Lesson iv
From the Sermons of St Bernardine of Siena. (1st on St Joseph.)

 When any special favours are conferred upon a reasonable being, it is the common rule that whenever the grace of God electeth such and such an one for such and such a grace, or for such and such an high post of duty, the person so elected receiveth all the gifts of grace which be needful for him in that state of life whereunto he is called, and receiveth them abundantly. Of this there is an excellent instance in the case of the holy Joseph, the socalled father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the real husband of her, who is Queen of the world, and Lady of Angels. He had been elected by the Eternal Father to be the faithful nurse and warder of His two chief treasures, that is, His Son, and Joseph's own Wife. This duty Joseph faithfully discharged, and consequently the Lord hath said to him: Well done, thou good and faithful servant enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

    Lesson v

    This man Joseph, if we compare him with the Universal Church of Christ, is he not that elect and chosen one, through whom, and under whom, Christ is orderly and honestly brought into the world? If, then, the Holy Universal Church be under a debt to the Virgin Mother, because it is through her that she hath been made to receive Christ, next to Mary she oweth love and worship to Joseph. Joseph is the key of the (Church of the Saints) which were under the Old Testament, in whose person the noble structure of Patriarchs and Prophets reacheth her completion and realiseth her promises. He is the only one of them who actually enjoyed in full fruition what God had been pleased to promise before to them. It is, therefore, with good reason that we see a type of him in that Patriarch Joseph who stored up corn for the people. But the second Joseph hath a more excellent dignity than the first, seeing that the first only gave to the Egyptians bread for the body, but the second was the watchful guardian for all the elect of that Living Bread Which came down from heaven, of Which whosoever eateth will never die.

    Lesson vi

    There can be no doubt that Christ still treateth Joseph in heaven with that familiarity, honour, and most high condescension which He paid him, like a Son to a father, while He walked among men; nay, rather, that He hath now crowned and completed those habits. We may very reasonably suspect that it was with a peculiar meaning that Christ said (to him) Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. The joy of being blessed for ever entereth into the heart of man, but when the Lord said (to Joseph), Enter thou into joy, He probably meant mystically to bid him realise a joy which should not be within him only, but outside him also, above him, and below him, and all round about him, and overflowing him as it were a great bottomless pit of joy to swallow him up altogether. Therefore, O thou blessed Joseph! remember us! In thy helpful prayers, make intercession for us with Him Who vouchsafed to be supposed thy Son! Likewise, obtain some pity for us from that most blessed Maiden who was thy wife, and the Mother of Him, Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

Lesson vii
Luke 3:21

+  The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke:
And at that time: When all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, the heaven was opened. Etc.

A Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Book ii., on the Harmony of the Evangelists.

    And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the Son of Joseph. These words, as was supposed, were evidently here written for the correction of such as might think that the Lord was the Son of Joseph, in the same sense as other men are called the children of their fathers. Those who find any trouble in the fact that the ancestors reckoned downward by Matthew from David to Joseph, are other than those reckoned upward by Luke from Joseph to David, such, I say, as are troubled by this, may get over it by supposing that Joseph had two fathers; one, that is, who begat him, and another who adopted him. The custom of adopting children, whereby those who have none of their own surround themselves with a family, is very ancient, even among the people of God. Hence, Luke is understood to have included in his Gospel, under the name of father of Joseph, that, not of the father by whom he was begotten, but of him by whom he was adopted, and it is the ancestors of this adoptive father who are reckoned up as far as David.

Lesson viii

    Thus since we are required to believe that what each of the Evangelists said was true, Matthew as well as Luke; and therefore that one of them names the father who begat, and the other, the father who adopted, Joseph; we naturally suppose that the Evangelist, who names the adoptive father, was he who abstains from using the term "beget."  Matthew begins: "Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob, and so on, always with the use of this word begat, till he comes to: "and Jacob begat Joseph." By the word which he uses he sufficiently indicates that the genealogy which he is giving is that of him who begat.

Lesson ix

    Luke says Joseph was the son of Heli, not Joseph was begotten of Heli; but even if he had said the latter, it would not have troubled this interpretation of ours, that one Evangelist names the natural, and the other the adoptive father of Joseph. It is not an outrageous thing to say that one who adopted another hath begotten him, albeit he hath done it, not carnally, but by love. Even so hath God given to us the power to become His sons, albeit He hath not begotten us of His Own Nature and Substance, as He has His Only - Begotten Son, but only reckons us, in His love, among His children.

Oratio:

    Let us pray God, Who in thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be assisted by the succour of his prayers to thee on our behalf; Who liveth

 

Thursday within the Octave of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph
Lesson i
Acts 24:10-16
A reading from the Acts of Apostles

    Then Paul answered, (the governor making a sign to him to speak:) Knowing that for many years thou hast been judge over this nation, I will with good courage answer for myself. For thou may understand, that there are yet but twelve days, since I went up to adore in Jerusalem: And neither in the temple did they find me disputing with any man, or causing any concourse of the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: Neither can they prove unto thee the things whereof they now accuse me. But this I confess to thee, that according to the way, which they call a heresy, so do I serve the Father and my God, believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets: Having hope in God, which these also themselves look for, that there shall be a resurrection of the just and unjust. And herein do I endeavor to have always a conscience without offence toward God, and towards men.

Lesson ii
Acts 24:17-21

    Now after many years, I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings, and vows. In which I was found purified in the temple: neither with multitude, nor with tumult. But certain Jews of Asia, who ought to be present before thee, and to accuse, if they had any thing against me: Or let these men themselves say, if they found in me any iniquity, when standing before the council, Except it be for this one voice only that I cried, standing among them, Concerning the resurrection of the dead am I judged this day by you.

Lesson iii
Acts 24:22-27

And Felix put them off, having most certain knowledge of this way, saying: When Lysias the tribune shall come down, I will hear you. 23 And he commanded a centurion to keep him, and that he should be easy, and that he should not prohibit any of his friends to minister unto him. 24 And after some days, Felix, coming with Drusilla his wife, who was a Jew, sent for Paul, and heard of him the faith, that is in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he treated of justice, and chastity, and of the judgment to come, Felix being terrified, answered: For this time, go thy way: but when I have a convenient time, I will send for thee. 26 Hoping also withal, that money should be given him by Paul; for which cause also oftentimes sending for him, he spoke with him. 27 But when two years were ended, Felix had for successor Portius Festus. And Felix being willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

Lesson iv
From a Sermon of Saint Bernardine of Siena
Sermon on Saint Joseph

    The marriage between Mary and Joseph was a real marriage, for it was contracted under divine inspiration. Now in marriage there is so close a union of souls that the bridegroom and the bride are said to be one person, for which reason marriage is like unto the very perfection of unity. Hence how can any discerning mind think that the Holy Spirit would unite, in a union of this intimacy, a mind such as the Virgin's, with the soul of a man who had not within him the operation of a godliness like unto hers? Wherefore I believe that this Joseph was holy, the most chaste of men and a virgin, completely humble, burning with a passion of charity towards God, and full of the highest graces of contemplation. And since the Virgin knew that he was given her by the Holy Spirit to be her spouse, and the faithful guardian of her virginity, and to share besides in devoted love and affectionate care towards that One who was in the most divine fashion the very offspring of God; therefore I believe that she sincerely loved Saint Joseph with all the affection of her heart.

Lesson v

    Now Joseph was most ardent in his love for Christ. For who, pray, would deny that Christ, whether as a child or as a grown man, would most deeply inspire ineffable affection, and the peculiar joys which He alone could give? And what would be the effect on one who held Him in his arms, and conversed at will with Him? And besides all this, who can reckon the bliss of receiving from the Christ Child those gazes of filial love? or his words spoken as a devoted son? or the giving of his trustful embraces? O how sweet were the kisses that Joseph received from Him! O how sweet to hear the little One lisp the name of father, and how delightful to feel His gentle caresses! Think again how often (when the little Jesus was growing bigger, and was wearied with much walking on the journeys which they made) Joseph must have been filled with compassion, and so carried Him at rest in his bosom. For Joseph bore towards Jesus all the fullness of an adoptive love, as to a most dear son, given to him by the Holy Ghost in his Virgin bride.

Lesson vi

Hence it was that a most prudent Mother, who knew the devotion of Joseph to Jesus, said to her Son, when she found him in the temple : Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. In order to understand this, we must note that Christ hath within himself, as it were, two savours, sweetness and bitterness. And since the most holy Joseph was in a wonderful manner (as we shall see) a partaker of these two savours, therefore the blessed Virgin doth bestow upon him in a special sense the title of Father of Christ. This is the only place where we read that she did call Saint Joseph the father of Jesus, doubtless because the bitterness of sorrow which he felt at the loss of Jesus shewed the fatherly affection which he bore him. For if according to human laws, which are approved by God, a man can adopt as his son the child of another family, how much more truly ought the Son of God to be called the Son of Joseph. For he was given to this Joseph by his most holy Spouse, in the wonderful mystery of a virginal marriage. And so it is also to be believed that in Joseph there were the two savours of Jesus, sweetness and bitterness, which were manifested as the sweetness of paternal love, and the bitterness of his compassion, towards his beloved Jesus.

Lesson vii
Luke 3:21-23

 +  The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke

 At that time : When all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, the heaven was opened. Etc.

A Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
Book II on the agreement of the Gospels.

    Joseph cannot be denied the name of father of Christ, merely because he did not beget him by coition. For he would have been called the father of any child whom he adopted, even if the child were not the issue of his wife, but from another family. It is true that Christ was supposed to be the son of Joseph in another sense ; namely, in that of having been actually begotten by Joseph according to the flesh. But this supposition was made only by those from whom Mary's virginity was concealed. It is of this that Luke saith : And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph. However, Luke sheweth no hesitation in giving the name of parent, not to Mary only, but also to Joseph, when in another place he saith : And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom : and the grace of God was upon him : Now his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the Feast of Passover.

Lesson viii

    But lest anyone should think that by the word Parents there is here to understood Mary and her forbears only, we must take into account what Luke recordeth earlier, And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. Since, therefore, Luke witnesseth that Christ was born, not by the begetting of Joseph, but of the Virgin Mary, how can he call Joseph the father of Jesus, except in the sense that Joseph was a real husband to Mary by virtue of the true bond of marriage, saving only that there never was any carnal intercourse between them? And yet, on account of this bond of marriage, Joseph was the father of Jesus in a much closer sense (seeing that the Christ Child was born of his wife) than if Joseph had adopted Jesus from another family. Hence, also, if anyone could prove that Mary did not trace her origin from David, the same reasoning by which Joseph is called the father of Christ would be sufficient reason for giving Christ the name, Son of David.

Lesson ix

    Luke gives the genealogy, not at the beginning of his Gospel, but after the account of the Baptism of Christ. And he gives it, not in the descending order, but in the ascending, more as if he were pointing to Christ as Priest, making atonement for sins. This was the occasion when the voice spake in testimony from heaven. And also at this time John himself gave testimony, saying : Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. By thus beginning with Jesus and tracing back, Luke passeth up through Abraham and eventually cometh to God, to whom we are reconciled after purification and atonement. Rightly then doth Luke give the origin by adoption, for through adoption and faith in the Son of God we become God's sons. In this fashion, Luke sheweth clearly enough why he nameth Joseph as the son of Heli ; that is, not because Joseph was betotten by Heli, but because he was adopted by him. For Luke calleth Adam himself the son of God, and this because he was made by God, being set in the paradise of Eden as a son by virtue of the grace which afterwards he lost in sinning.

Oratio:

Let us pray God, Who in thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be holpen by the succour of his prayers to thee on our behalf; Who liveth.

 

Friday within the Octave of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph
Lesson i
Acts 25:1-5
A reading from the Acts of Apostles

    Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.  And the chief priests, and principal men of the Jews, went unto him against Paul: and they besought him,  Requesting favour against him, that he would command him to be brought to Jerusalem, laying wait to kill him in the way.  But Festus answered: That Paul was kept in Caesarea, and that he himself would very shortly depart thither.  Let them, therefore, saith he, among you that are able, go down with me, and accuse him, if there be any crime in the man.

Lesson ii
Acts 25:6-8

And having tarried among them no more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he sat in the judgment seat; and commanded Paul to be brought. 7 Who being brought, the Jews stood about him, who were come down from Jerusalem, objecting many and grievous causes, which they could not prove; 8 Paul making answer for himself: Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I offended in any thing.

Lesson iii
Acts 25:9-12

    But Festus, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, answering Paul, said: Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? 10 Then Paul said: I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no injury, as thou very well knowest. 11 For if I have injured them, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die. But if there be none of these things whereof they accuse me, no man may deliver me to them: I appeal to Caesar. 12 Then Festus having conferred with the council, answered: Hast thou appealed to Caesar? To Caesar shalt thou go.

Lesson iv
From a Sermon of St. John Chrysostom
Homily IV on Matthew

    It was the custom in ancient times for betrothed brides to dwell in the houses of their bridegrooms. And it would seem that Mary thus dwelt with her Spouse. And herein we find answer to the question : Why did not the virgin conception take place before Mary was wedded? In order that the mystery might be hid in the meantime, and that the Virgin might escape all danger of evil suspicion. For Joseph had the best right to be moved by jealousy. Yet we see that he not only refrained from sending away his Espoused, or branding her with infamy, but that he received her as his own, and did cherish her after she conceived. And verily, it is evident that he would never have kept her in his house, or ministered to all her needs, if he had not clearly come to know that she had conceived by the operation of the Holy Ghost.

Lesson v

    Joseph being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately. After the Evangelist hath told us that she was with child, of the Holy Ghost, and not of any sexual commerce, Luke brings testimony from another source to confirm the statement. For lest anyone should say : And how can this be proved? who saw it? who ever heard of any such thing having happened? and lest you might think that a disciple had invented this tale to please his Master, the Evangelist thus brings forward the grief of Joseph, and what he did thereafter, to confirm the story, as if to say : If ye will not believe me, or if ye hold my testimony in suspicion, at least believe the husband.

Lesson vi

    He said : "Joseph her husband, being a just man." To be just, as the word is here used, implies that full growth of righteousness which cometh from the habitual service of God. Being therefore a just man (that is, a worthy and good man), he was minded to put her away privately. Thus the Evangelist records the grief of this just man before he knew the secret of the virgin conception, lest thou should have doubts concerning what happened after he knew that secret. And certainly if Mary had been such as suspicion would make her out to be, she would have deserved not only to be denounced, but to be punished by the authority of the Law. But Joseph was not only unwilling to condemn her, but even to denounce her. Herein thou dost see an instance of a man full of spiritual understanding, and free from the tyranny of suspicion. But was this a matter of mere suspicion, seeing that the very swelling of her body seemed to prove a fact? Nonetheless, this man was so pure, and free from that kind of jealousy, that he would not cause the Virgin even the slightest grief. And although he lived under the Law, his spiritual understanding was above the Law. For now that the reign of grace was approaching, it was fitting that there should be a shining example of a more sublime spirituality than was common under the Law.

Lesson vii
Luke 3:21-23

+  The Continuation Holy Gospel according to Luke

At that time : When all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, the heaven was opened. Etc.

A Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
Book XXIII against  Faustus, cap. 7-8

    The words uttered from heaven over the river Jordan : This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased : were said also on the Mount of the Transfigurátion. Now these words should not be understood to imply that he was not the Son of God before the voice from heaven was heard. For we know that he who received the form of a servant from the Virgin's womb, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Indeed, the same Apostle Paul clearly declares elsewhere: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a Woman, made under the Law, that he might redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." He therefore is the Son of God, who is according to his divinity the Lord of David, and at the same time according to the flesh the Son of David, and of the seed of David.

Lesson viii

    Except it were profitable to believe this, the same Apostle would not have exhorted Timothy so earnestly, saying : Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, is risen again from the dead, according to my Gospel. Why then should any follower of the holy Gospel be troubled concerning this ; to wit, that Christ, who was born of the Virgin without cohabitation with Joseph, hath his line of descent traced by the Evangelist Matthew through Joseph rather than through Mary ; or again, that because of Joseph's descent from David, the Evangelist should call Christ the Son of David? For we know good reasons for this. The first is that the genealogy of her husband would be preferred to hers as a matter of honor to the male sex. For even though he was not joined to her in cohabitation, he was not on that account any the less her husband, since Matthew himself witnessed that Mary was called the wife of Joseph by the Angel, and yet he also said that she had conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Lesson ix

    Note that one and the same narrator both makes and approves all these statements : to wit, that Joseph was the husband of Mary ; that the Mother of Christ was a Virgin ; that Christ was of the seed of David ; and that Joseph was in the line of Christ's ancestors from David. From all this we perceive several other reasons for the giving of Joseph's genealogy : to wit, that Mary was not without blood-relationship to David ; and that in consideration of their union as souls, according to the due order of sex, she was not falsely given the title of Joseph's wife ; and that Joseph, chiefly on account of his dignity as a man, was not to be separated from the line of their common genealogy, lest he should appear as separated from that Woman, to whom the affection of his soul bound him.

Oratio

    Let us pray. God, Who in thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be helped by the succor of his prayers to thee on our behalf; Who live.

 

Saturday within the Octave of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph
Lesson i
Acts 28:16-20
A reading from the Acts of Apostles

    And when we were come to Rome, Paul was suffered to dwell by himself, with a soldier that kept him.  And after the third day, he called together the chief of the Jews. And when they were assembled, he said to them: Men, brethren, I, having done nothing against the people, or the custom of our fathers, was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans;  Who, when they had examined me, would have released me, for that there was no cause of death in me;  But the Jews contradicting it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had any thing to accuse my nation of.  For this cause therefore I desired to see you, and to speak to you. Because that for the hope of Israel, I am bound with this chain.

Lesson ii
Acts 28:21-24

    But they said to him: We neither received letters concerning thee from Judea, neither did any of the brethren that came hither, relate or speak any evil of thee.  But we desire to hear of thee what thou think; for as concerning this sect, we know that it is every where contradicted.  And when they had appointed him a day, there came very many to him unto his lodgings; to whom he expounded, testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, out of the law of Moses and the prophets, from morning until evening.  And some believed the things that were said; but some believed not.

Lesson iii
Acts 28:25-31

    And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, Paul speaking this one word: Well did the Holy Ghost speak to our fathers by Isaias the prophet,  Saying: Go to this people, and say to them: With the ear you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive.  For the heart of this people is grown gross, and with their ears have they heard heavily, and their eyes they have shut; lest perhaps they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.  Be it known therefore to you, that this salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it.  And when he had said these things, the Jews went out from him, having much reasoning among themselves.  And he remained two whole years in his own hired lodging; and he received all that came in to him,  Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, without prohibition.

Lesson iv
From a Sermon of Saint John Chrysostom
Homily IV on Matthew

    Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife. But what is : To take? Undoubtedly, to maintain, and that in his own house. For he had already sent her away in his mind. But now the Angel commands : Her whom thou wouldst send away, maintain ; her, do thou, and not her parents, maintain, for God joins her to thee ; her, God verily joins to thee, not in the sacred commerce of marriage, but in the fellowship of a common home ; and her, God joins to thee through the ministry of my words. Just as Christ himself later entrusted her to the care of his disciple, so now the Angel gives her to her spouse ; in such manner that she may have the consolation of his company without other conjugal rights. By this means her confinement would be explained in a worthier and more honorable way, and suspicion would be allayed. It is as though the Angel said : Not only was she not dishonored by an unlawful embrace, but indeed she is fruitful in a manner above nature and usage ; therefore grieve not at the happy confinement of thy Bride, but break forth into greater joy! For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Lesson v

And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shall call his Name Jesus. That is : Think not that the ministry of this great dispensation, because it is of the Holy Ghost, is a thing apart from thee. For even thought thou hast no part in his generation, since the Virgin remains inviolate, yet do I readily grant thee this, namely ; that thine are all the rights of a father, in so far as they obscure not the dignity of the Virgin ; thou shalt certainly give the new-born his Name ; thou shall be the first to call him by his Name. For even though he who is born is not thy son, nonetheless thou shalt shew him the care and solicitude of a parent ; and therefore I unite thee to him by this immediate giving of the Name. But, lest anyone might think from this that Joseph was the begetter of Christ, the Angel was first careful to say : She shall bring forth a Son. He doth not say : She shall bear thee a son : but makes his statement in an undetermined and indefinite way. For Mary did not bear a son to Joseph, but brought forth Christ to the whole world.

Lesson vi

    Therefore the Evangelist relates that the Angel brought his Name from heaven, so that thus might be shown how wonderful was his birth, seeing that he himself taught his Name to Joseph by an Angel sent from God. For this Name, which tuly contains a thousand treasures of good, was not given without meaning. Therefore the Angel doth himself interpret it, thereby consoling Joseph's grief with good hopes ; and thus also inviting him to believe these words. For we are easily summoned to that which is pleasant, and give prompt credence unto good tidings. Wherefore the Angel said : He shall save his people from their sins. This also shows the novelty of the gift. For he announces that this people are to be saved, not indeed from external wars, nor from the swords of barbarians, but from what is far greater than these : From their sins. And no mere man could ever accomplish this.

Lesson vii
Luke 3:21-23

+  The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke

    At that time : When all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, the heaven was opened. Etc.

A Homily of Saint Ambrose, Bishop
Exposition of Luke, Book III

    No one should be troubled at the words : As was supposed, the son of Joseph. For it was no more than a supposition, seeing that Christ was not the son of Joseph by nature. Albeit, it was so supposed because Mary who was espoused to her husband Joseph, gave Christ birth. And so, referring to Joseph as father, it is written : Is not this the carpenter's son? We have already discussed why the Lord of salvation chose to be born of a Virgin. We have also discussed why she was an espoused Virgin when her conception took place ; and why it took place at the time of the enrollment for taxing. Hence it is not fitting to explain why Christ had a working-man for his father. For thereby is figured Christ's divine Father, who as Maker of all things, framed the world. Even though human and divine matters be not equal to each other, yet is this figure a complete one. Christ's Father worketh by fire and by breathing on things. Yea, like a good carpenter of the soul, he chippeth away our defects. Promptly doth he lay his axe to the barren trees and hew them down. Skilful is he in correcting whatever is built scantily, and in buttressing whatever is to be built magnificently. He tempereth the hardness of hearts as with fire, and with his gentle Breath. And by his divers workings he formeth the quality of the human race.

Lesson viii

    We might wonder why the genealogy of Joseph, rather than of Mary, is given (since Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Ghost, and Joseph had not part in the Lord's conception), were it not that the Holy Scripture teaches us how it was the custom to trace descent on the male side. For in this fashion the person of the man is set forth as pre-eminent, and his dignity maintained, even as it is wont to be done in the Senate and the other high places of the commonwealth. And how unseemly it would have been to have passed over the lineage of the father, and to have given that of the mother, since the so doing would have appeared to proclaim to all the people in the world that Christ had not father. It is a world-wide custom to trace the genealogy of a family in the male line. Therefore, be not perplexed that the lineage of Joseph is given. Forasmuch as Christ was born in the flesh, he was bound to follow this custom of the flesh. And he who came into the world had to be enrolled for taxing in the worldly manner, the more so that Joseph's descent was the same as Mary's.

Lesson ix

    But some explanation is required as to why Saint Matthew reckoneth Christ's descent from Abraham forward, whilst Saint Luke traceth the same from Christ backward to the creation of Adam by God. By this, Luke would have us understand that Christ's lineage should be traced to God, because God was Christ's true Progenitor, both as his Father whereof he was begotten, and as the Author, in the laver of baptism, of the mystical gift of the Spirit. Wherefore Luke doth not begin his Gospel with the reckoning of Christ's lineage, but recordeth it after the account of the baptism, thereby shewing forth in baptism the working of God, the Author of all things. Thus also Luke asserteth that Christ came forth from God according to a certain rule of orderliness. For he weaveth all things together to prove that Christ is by nature, by grace, and in the flesh, the Son of God. But what more evident proof of Christ's divine descent could we have than what Luke giveth? For before the Evangelist reckoneth the genealogy of Christ, he giveth the words of the Father himself : This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Oratio

    Let us pray. God, Who in thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be helped by the succor of his prayers to thee on our behalf; Who live.

 

Third Sunday after Easter
Sunday within the Octave of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph

Lesson i
Apocalypse 1:1-6
A reading from the Apocalypse of Saint John

    The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to make known to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass: and signified, sending by his angel to his servant John, Who hath given testimony to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, what things soever he hath seen.  Blessed is he, that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy; and keepeth those things which are written in it; for the time is at hand.  John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be unto you and peace from him that is, and that was, and that is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before his throne,  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth, who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,  And hath made us a kingdom, and priests to God and his Father, to him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 1:7-11

    Behold, he cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of him. Even so. Amen.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.  I John, your brother and your partner in tribulation, and in the kingdom, and patience in Christ Jesus, was in the island, which is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus.  I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,  Saying: What thou seest, write in a book, and send to the seven churches which are in Asia, to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamus, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 1:12-19

    And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks:  And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  And his head and his hairs were white, as white wool, and as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire,  And his feet like unto fine brass, as in a burning furnace. And his voice as the sound of many waters.  And he had in his right hand seven stars. And from his mouth came out a sharp two edged sword: and his face was as the sun shineth in his power.  And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying: Fear not. I am the First and the Last,  And alive, and was dead, and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell.  Write therefore the things which thou hast seen, and which are, and which must be done hereafter.

Lesson iv
A Sermon of Blessed Saint Augustine, Bishop
Sermon 147 de Tempore

    In these holy days of the Lord's resurrection, let us treat as far as we are able, of that gift of the resurrection of the body. For this is our faith, this gift is promised us in the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in him we have the first example. He willed, not only to tell us of our future hope, but to show it to us. He came to the disciples, and they were terrified when they saw him, and supposed that they seen a spirit, yet he gave them proof of the firmness of his body.

Lesson v


Lesson v He spoke to them, not only with his word for their ears, but also with his form for their eyes. He proved his identity, not only by appearing before them, but also offering himself to be touched and handled, for he said, Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts ? Behold my hands and my feet; handle me , and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Lesson vi

Lesson vi It is a greater miracle that so many men are born every day, who have not already existed, than that some of them, who do already exist, should rise from the dead, and yet this is not considered a miracle at all, but it is taken for granted. Christ is risen: it is a cetain fact. He was body; he was flesh; he hung on the cross; he gave up the ghost; his flesh was laid in the sepulchre. He who lived in it, showed that flesh to be living. Why are you amazed? Why do you not believe? It is God who has done this.

Lesson vii
John 16:16-22

+ The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John: 

At that time Jesus said to his disciples:16 A little while, and now you shall not see me; and again a little while, and you shall see me: because I go to the Father. Etc.

A Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
Tract 101 of John

    This little while is the whole duration of this present world. In the same sense this same Evangelist says in his Epistle, It is the last time. The words, "because I go to the Father," refer to the first clause of the text, namely, "A little while and ye shall not see Me", and not to the latter clause, that is, and again a little while, and ye shall see Me. By His going to the Father He was about to bring it to pass that they should see Him no more. And thus it was that He said, not that He was about to die, and that after His death they should not see Him until He rose again, but that He was going to the Father, which He did when, after that He was risen again and had manifested Himself to them for forty days, He ascended up into heaven.

Lesson viii

    But now, to them which were looking on Him in the Body, He says, A little while, and ye shall not see Me, a little while, and they who now saw Him clad in a dying nature, should see Him so no more, because He was about to go to the Father. But He says : And again a little while, and ye shall see Me, and these words are a promise to the Universal Church, just as are those others: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Our Lord delays not His promised coming. Again a little while, and we shall see Him. We shall see Him. And when we shall see Him, then we shall beg, we shall ask no more; for no desire will be unsatisfied, and no riddle unsolved.

Lesson ix

    This little while seems a very long while to us now, while as it is still going on, but when it is over we shall feel indeed how truly it is but a little while. Therefore, may our rejoicing never be like the rejoicing of that world whereof it is said: The world shall rejoice. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, and yet, while hitherto our gladness is still coming to the birth through throes of sorrow, let us not be altogether sorrowful, but, as the Apostle hath it: Rejoicing in hope : patient in tribulation. "A woman, when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come : but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world." And so will it be with us. And with that let me end my discourse. The next passage is one of extreme difficulty; nor is it possible to treat it briefly, if, (with the will of God,) it is to be treated satisfactorily.

Oratio

    Let us pray Almighty God, Who show to them that be in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's Religion, that they may eschew those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday within the Octave of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph
Lesson i
Apocalypse 2:1-7
A reading from the Apocalypse of Saint John

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things sys he, who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks:  I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them that are evil, and thou hast tried them, who say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:  And thou hast patience, and hast endured for my name, and hast not fainted.  But I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first charity.  Be mindful therefore from whence thou art fallen: and do penance, and do the first works. Or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou do penance.  But this thou hast, that thou hate the deeds of the Nicolaites, which I also hate.  He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: To him, that overcomes, I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of my God.

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 2:8-11

    And to the angel of the church of Smyrna write: These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and is alive:  I know thy tribulation and thy poverty, but thou art rich: and thou art blasphemed by them that say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison that you may be tried: and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful until death: and I will give thee the crown of life.  He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: He that shall overcome, shall not be hurt by the second death.

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 2:12-17

    And to the angel of the church of Pergamus write: These things, says he, that hath the sharp two edged sword: 13 I know where thou dwell, where the seat of Satan is: and thou hold fast my name, and hast not denied my faith. Even in those days when Antipas was my faithful witness, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have against thee a few things: because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat, and to commit fornication: 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaites. 16 In like manner do penance: if not, I will come to thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches: To him that overcomes, I will give the hidden manna, and will give him a white counter, and in the counter, a new name written, which no man knows, but he that receives it.

Lesson iv
From a Sermon of Saint Bernard, Abbot
Homily II super Missus est

    Mary was espoused to Joseph, or rather, as says the Evangelist Luke: "To a man whose name was Joseph." He is called a man, not because he was her husband, but because he was a person of manliness. And again, the same is said by the Evangelist Matthew, to wit: "Joseph the husband of Mary": and: "Joseph her man": for he rightly calls Joseph by this title of manliness, for so Joseph was expected to be, that his virtuous manhood might be given in marriage to Mary. And we must conclude that he is here called what he was, a man ; and further, that he was called her man because it was necessary that he should be publicly accepted as her man. And likewise, he was found worthy to be called the father of the Savior, not that he was, but that he was publicly accepted as such, as the Evangelist himself says: "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph."

Lesson v

    Without doubt, good and faithful was this Joseph who espoused the Mother of the Savior. Yea, I say unto you, he is that faithful and wise servant whom the Lord hath made ruler over his household. For the Lord appointed him to be the comfort of his Mother, the keeper of his own body, and, in a word, his chief and most trusty helper on earth in the carrying out the eternal counsels. Add to this that he is said to have been of the house of David, as he verily was. For this Joseph was a true son of a race of kings, noble in descent, nobler yet in mind. A true son of David, not so much according to the flesh as in faith, holiness, and devotion. Whom, like another David, the Lord found to be a man after his own heart, to whom he therefore safely entrusted the most hold and hidden secret of his heart. To whom also, like another David, he showed the uncertain and hidden things of his wisdom, and granted that he should not be ignorant of a mystery which was known to none of the princes of this world.

Lesson vi

    Lastly, there was given to him not only to see and hear, him whom many kings desired to see yet saw not, and to hear yet heard not, but even to carry him in his arms, to kiss him with his lips, to clothe him and to guard him. We must believe that Mary too, like Joseph, was descended from the house of David. For she would not have been espoused to a man of the house of David, if she had not herself been of the house of David. Both therefore were of the house of David. But in Mary the truth, which the Lord had sworn to David, was fulfilled ; whereas to Joseph it was therefore given to know and bear witness unto the fulfilment of the promise.

Lesson vii
Luke 3:21-23

+  The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke: 

    At that time : When all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, the heaven was opened. Etc.

A Homily of Saint Ambrose, Bishop
Exposition of Luke, Book iii

    That Matthew should trace the lineage of Christ through Solomon, and Luke through Nathan, would seem to indicate that the one desires to show the royalty of Christ's descent, and the other the priestliness thereof. We need not infer from this that one is more accurate than the other. On the contrary, each agrees with the other, with an equal good faith and veracity. For he was indeed, according to the flesh, of both a royal and a priestly family, a King sprung from kings, a Priest from priests. But the voice from heaven is speaking of divine things rather than of human. So then, as it is written : The King shall rejoice in God : that is, in God's strength, from which come to him the judgments of his royal Father ; and likewise, he is that Priest of whom it is written : Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech.

Lesson viii

    Therefore both Evangelists keep well within the truth. For Matthew doth establish descent through the kings ; whereas Luke, by tracing through the priests the lineage transmitted to Christ from God, manifests his more sacred origin. And from this we perceive the significance of the symbol used for this Evangelist ; namely, the sacrificial calf , for everywhere he brings forward the mystery of the sacrificial priesthood. Nor need it surprise us that Luke gives many more generations from Abraham to Christ than doth Matthew, since we can recognize that the line of descent is led through different persons. It may be that some lived long lives, whilst persons of the other line died young. For we are used to seeing many old men living with their grandchildren, and others dying soon after the birth of their children.

Lesson ix

We notice also a further difference. Saint Matthew says that Jacob, the son of Matthan, was the father of Joseph. Whereas Luke says that Joseph, to whom Mary was espoused, was the son of Heli, and that Heli was the son of Matthat. How then could Joseph have had two fathers, that is Heli and Jacob? Perchance he is called the son of two men, because one was his father according to nature, whereas the other became his father according to the Law. The particulars of the Law regarding the raising up of seed to a dead brother were not understood by the Jewish people as a promise to us that the seed of the dead should be perpetuated for ever. But in so far as they read it only according to the letter, they failed to grasp its revelation of spiritual truth. For the living brother that raised up seed unto his dead brother, is not to be considered a brother after the flesh, but only according to the purity of his motives. And on that account, perchance we read : But no man may deliver his brother, nor make agreement unto God for him (for it cost more to redeem their souls, so that he must let that alone for ever): yea, though he live long, and see not the grave. For the man Christ Jesus was not our natural brother, but the Mediator between God and man, whereby he hath engendered in us the grace of the resurrection unto perpetual life.

Oratio

    Let us pray. God, Who in thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be helped by the succor of his prayers to thee on our behalf; Who live.

Tuesday within the Octave of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph
Lesson i
Apocalypse 4:1-5
A reading from the Apocalypse of Saint John

    After these things I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, as it were, of a trumpet speaking with me, said: Come up hither, and I will show thee the things which must be done hereafter.  And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting.  And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.  And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats, four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold.  And from the throne proceeded lightning, and voices, and thunders; and there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 4:6-8

    And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind.  And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying.  And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 4:9-11

    And when those living creatures gave glory, and honour, and benediction to him that sitS on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever; 10 The four and twenty ancients fell down before him that sitteth on the throne, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honour, and power: because thou hast created all things; and for thy will they were, and have been created.

Lesson iv
From a Sermon of Saint Bernard, Abbot
Homily II super Missus est

    It is written: Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately. Being a just man, he was rightly unwilling to expose her. For as he would not have been a just man if he had connived at known guilt, so he would have been even less just if he had condemned proven innocence. Being a just man, therefore, and not willing to make her a public example, he was minded to put her away privately. Why did he wish to put her away? On this point hear, not my opinion, but that of the Fathers. Perchance Joseph wished to put her away for the same reason of reverence that made Peter seek to put away the Lord, when he said: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord: just as the centurion also sought to keep the Lord away from his house, when he said: "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof. "

Lesson v

    In like manner Joseph may have held himself to be sinful and unworthy, in such wise that he thought he ought no longer to enjoy the familiar companionship of her whose marvelous dignity filled him with awe. Perchance he saw and trembled at the unmistakable signs of the divine presence; and, since he could not fathom the mystery, he was minded to put her away. Peter trembled at the greatness of the divine power. The Centurion trembled at the presence of the divine Majesty. Joseph too, being but a man, was filled with awe at the strangeness of this mystery. Dost thou wonder that Joseph judged himself unworthy of the companionship of this pregnant Virgin, when thou hear that Saint Elizabeth too was filled with reverence and trembling at her presence? For she said: Whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?

Lesson vi

    And so Joseph was minded to put her away. But why privately, and not publicly?  Lest perhaps enquiry should be made about this separation, and he should be asked for reasons. What should a just man reply to a stiff necked people, a faithless and perverse generation? If he were to have said what he thought, and what he had proved, concerning her purity, would not all the cruel and unbelieving amongst the Jews have soon laughed him to scorn, and stoned her to death? How would they have believed in the Truth lying silent in her womb, when they afterwards despised the Truth preaching in the temple? What would they have done to him before his appearance in the flesh, when afterwards they laid impious hands on him in spite of his signs and wonders? The just man, therefore, was right in wishing to put her away privately, lest he should be thought to lie, or to defame an innocent woman.

Lesson vii
Luke 3:21-23

+The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke:

    At that time: When all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, the heaven was opened. Etc.

A Homily of Saint John of Damascene
Oratio 3 Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    Matthew begins his Gospel with the words: The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. But he doth not stop here. In fact, he continues his genealogy down to the very Spouse of the Virgin. Luke, on the other hand, after relating the manifestation of the Savior at his baptism, makes a digression in his account, and writes thus: And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, which was the son of Matthat: and so on, in an ascending line, going up even to Seth: which was the son of Adam, which was the Son of God. Thus after reckoning up Joseph's genealogy in this fashion, we are shown clearly at the same time how Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, was herself also of the same lineage as Joseph. For the Mosaic Law strictly forbade marriages between the different tribes, in order that the hereditary rights of one tribe might not pass into another.

Lesson viii

    Note that there was good reason for these following things: namely, that the birth of Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost was kept secret from the people; and that Joseph stood to Jesus in the place of a father; and that on that account, as was truly fitting, he was counted the father of the Child. Otherwise, it would have seemed that the Child had no father, because he had no recorded descent from his father's side. Wherefore it was of the utmost importance that the Evangelists should record Joseph's lineage. Had they not done so, but had given the Child's lineage on his mother's side, they would have done unseemly, and gone contrary to the usage of divine Scripture. It was therefore fitting that they should give the lineage of Joseph from David, for the reason which we have already given of the kinship between her and her husband. They thereby attest that the Virgin Mary was of the lineage of David.

Lesson ix

    It is indeed clear to all that Joseph was endued with righteousness, and led a life in accordance with the Law. Therefore, living by what the Law prescribed, he certainly would not marry a wife sprung from any other but his own tribe. If, then, Joseph belonged to the tribe of Judah, and came of the seed and family of David, is it not a matter of course that Mary should come from the same? Whence it is that her husband's descent is recorded. For if, according to the Apostle's saying, the head of the woman is the man, doth it not follow in consequence that when the descent of the head is registered, that of the body in included in that of the head? I think it is therefore clearly shewn that the Evangelists purposely chronicle Joseph's genealogy, so that, in consequence, it would be understood that the Virgin was also sprung of the family of David; thereby implying the surpassing wonder that it was the Christ, before all ages the Son of God, who was born of her.

Oratio

    Let us pray. God, Who in thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be helped by the succor of his prayers to thee on our behalf; Who live.

 

Wednesday, the Octave Day of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph
Lesson i
Apocalypse 5:1-7
A reading from the Apocalypse of Saint John

    And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice: Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?  And no man was able, neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it.  And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the book, nor to see it.  And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not; behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.  And I saw: and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the ancients, a Lamb standing as it were slain, having seven horns and seven eyes: which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth.  And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne.

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 5:8-10

    And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints:  And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.  And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 5:11-14

    And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the ancients; and the number of them was thousands of thousands,  Saying with a loud voice: The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction.  And every creature, which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them: I heard all saying: To him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction, and honour, and glory, and power, for ever and ever.  And the four living creatures said: Amen. And the four and twenty ancients fell down on their faces, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever.

Lesson iv
A Sermon of Saint Augustine, Bishop
Book 1 on Marriage and Concupiscence, ch 11

    The Angel did not speak falsely when he said to Joseph : Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife. She is called wife because of the mutual confidence established between them at the time of her espousal, although he had not known her carnally, nor was he ever so to do. And the name of wife was not lost or rendered untrue because there had not been any carnal intercourse, and would not be in the future. She was, in fact, The Virgin ; and therefore she was holier and a more wonderful source of joy to her husband just because she became a mother without a man's intervention. Thus he knew her to be like unto himself in faithfulness, unlike him as regards her offspring. On account of his faithful union, both of them merited the name of Christ's parents. And not only is she called his Mother, but he also is called his father, as being the husband of his Mother, not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. But even though he was a father only in spirit, whilst she was Mother according to the flesh, yet they both were the parents of his humility, not of his glory ; of his infirmity, not of his divinity.

Lesson v

    For the Gospel doth not lie, when it says : And Joseph and his Mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him. And in another place : "His parents went to Jerusalem every year". And a little further on : "And his Mother said unto him ; Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." But, to show that, apart from them, he had a Father who begat him without a mother, he answered them : "How is it that ye sought me? Know ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" And, as a set-off to this, lest anyone might think that by these words he denied his parents, the Evangelist immediately adds: "And they understood not the saying which he spoke unto them ; and he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them." To whom was he subject but to his parents? And who was thus subject but Jesus Christ, who, "being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God?"

Lesson vi

    Why therefore was he subject to them who were so far below the form of God, except that he humbled himself, taking upon himself the form of a servant, of which form they were the parents? But truly, neither of them would have attained unto the parenthood of this form of a servant, except they had become respectively husband and wife, albeit without any carnal intercourse. And hence, when the ancestors of Christ are recounted in direct line of succession, the genealogy was fittingly traced down to Joseph. Otherwise, it would have been a slur upon the male sex, which is wont to be accorded the greater dignity. At the same time the truth did not suffer, for both Joseph and Mary were of the seed of David, from which it was prophesied that Christ should come. Note how thus all the good things of marriage are found in these parents of Christ : offspring, fidelity, the marriage bond. The offspring we know, was the Lord Jesus himself ; their fidelity is proved because there was no adultery ; the marriage bond, because there was no divorce.

Lesson vii
Luke 3:21-23

+ The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke:

At that time : When all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, the heaven was opened. Etc.

A Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
Serm. 36 on the time of the Baptism of Christ

    The day of his baptism is, as it were, a second birthday of the Savior. For we know that he was born with signs and wonders like to those of his baptism, and that in the latter is a great mystery like to his birth. For God said : This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. This second birth is indeed more glorious than the first. For then, he was born in silence, and without witnesses. Now, the Lord is baptized with a proclamation of his divinity. Then, Joseph, who was supposed to be his father, denied that he was. Now, his true Father, who was not believed to be so, proclaims himself so to be. Then, the Mother was enduring suspicion, because no father was acknowledged. Now she that bore him is honored because the Divinity makes him known as his Son.

Lesson viii

I say that the second birth was more glorious than the first. For now, the God of majesty proclaimed himself as his father. Then, the carpenter Joseph was so accounted. And although it was the Holy Ghost through whom the Lord was born and baptized, yet the Father, whose voice was heard from heaven, is greater than the father who labored on earth. Therefore Joseph the workman on earth was supposed to be the father of the Lord and Saviour. But God, the true Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is also a workman, and cannot be excluded from those who work at the carpenter's trade.

Lesson ix
Commemoration of the Saint of the Day

Oratio:

    Let us pray. God, Who in thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be helped by the succor of his prayers to thee on our behalf; Who live.


Dei via est íntegra
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