March 19, 2013 - St. Joseph, Guardian of Jesus

Today's Reading: Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 2:23 - 3:22; Mark 14:53-72

Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. (Matthew 2:21)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Judica. Vindicate me, O Lord.” “When Joseph heard that Mary was with child, he was minded to put her away quietly.” That's because Joseph knew of the Lord's forgiveness and so how could he take the letter of the law and have Mary put to death? Of course, the Child was not from another man but by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph suddenly was given a hugely important job: to be the earthly guardian of Jesus an to care for Mary, Jesus' mother and see them both to safety when King Herod came after them.

Did Joseph ever have to justify himself? Vindicate himself? Explain himself so people would understand? It doesn't matter. What matters is that the Lord vindicated Joseph. He protected him as he protected Jesus and Mary.

But it's not just that the Lord blessed Joseph and made things work out for him. The Lord had something greater in mind. Joseph was to protect Jesus so He could grow up and be unprotected. Undefended. Betrayed. Captured. Tried. Mocked. Scourged. Crucified. Dead. The Lord used St. Joseph to guard Jesus until the time when the guard was no longer needed and it was time for Jesus to accomplish the work for which He came: saving sinners by His death and resurrection.

We celebrate St. Joseph and give thanks to the Lord for his doing the work and fulfilling the calling God had for him. Joseph played his part in protecting and raising Jesus until it was time for Jesus to go and be Joseph's guardian against sin and death and your Savior and guardian, too. For He who has given you the new birth of water and the Word has promised by His Word and Sacraments to guard and keep you unto everlasting life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

We sing our thanks for Joseph, The guardian of our Lord, Who faithfully taught Jesus Through craft and deed and word. Grant wisdom, Lord, and patience To parents ev'rywhere Who guide and teach the children Entrusted to their care. (By All Your Saints in Warfare, LSB 517:14)

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.