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Respecting St. Joseph: the bittersweet Cross of being a Just person

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Our best efforts in being a Just person, such as was St. Joseph, are met with the Cross of resistance, mockery, and persecution, perpetrated by the popular society, and 'the powers that be,' inspired by the same 'principalities and powers' which nailed the Just Man, Jesus Christ, to His Cross.

For the stakes have not changed.

From the Cross we receive the grace to be Just--just like Jesus. Because of this heavenly gift in Justness, we should expect the very same Cross from an un-Just society.

"When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm." 2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14

The frustration of the Just person is in following the footsteps of Jesus, faithfully, only to meet with obstacles, resistance, and seeming failure. Yet, this was the outlook of the Apostles on Holy Saturday, unbeknownst to them the eve of the Resurrection.

"The promises of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness..." Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29

The Just person suffers within the Joy of Hope. This doesn't lessen his, or her, suffering. Yet, within the faith-filled-conviction that God fulfills all His Promises in Good Time, suffering is united, willingly, with the Cross of Jesus Christ for the benefit of the Kingdom reign of God. Being Just, therefore, is the ultimate test of patience and endurance, only persevered in faith.

Being Just is a gift received in suffering, bathed in the grace received through prayer and the sacraments.

"He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become the father of many nations..." Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22

Abraham, like St. Joseph, is a man for our times!

Abraham hoped against hope, meaning he saw even when it wasn't foreseeable, that God will prevail. Likewise, in today's culture of death, promiscuity, and anti-Christian persecution, it is unforeseeable that God will prevail. But, then again, the Apostles did not foresee Easter Sunday on Holy Saturday.

"When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home." Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24

Sometimes it seems like a dream, compared to the 'reality' of the coldness of secular life, but the gospel, the Holy Mass, and the Teaching of the Church, are God's Promises already fulfilled, and fulfilling, in our lives. Like Joseph, we must take Mary, and the Church, into our homes, and our hearts, so that Jesus can reward us for our Justness with the only gift which brings life.

Paradoxically, and in bittersweetness, this gift of Life comes only from the Cross.