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St. Joseph: ‘virjustus’

The spotlight in this Fourth Sunday of Advent is focused on St. Joseph, who was a man of few words that’s why little is known about him.

A husband once said jokingly: “I can identify very well with St. Joseph because I have no voice in the family. It’s my wife who’s the ‘speaker of the house.’”

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The gospel tells us that Jesus’ foster father was a “virjustus,” an upright man (Mt 1,19). This is shown when he was confronted with the mystery of the pregnancy of Mary or the “virgin birth.” Before they lived together, the Scripture says, Mary was found to have a child.

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Being an upright man, he decided to divorce her quietly. But when the Lord revealed to him in a dream that the child Mary had been carrying was from the Holy Spirit and not from man, he decided to take her to his home.

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The conduct of Joseph shows what true uprightness is. The just man is not a man who seeks only what justice demands or demands his own personal rights, but one who knows how to temper justice with mercy.

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Joseph could have had Mary charged. He could have had her condemned to die by stoning, a punishment for unfaithful women during his time. But he chose a course of action that would spare her life and dignity in the given situation.

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Uprightness is not a matter of “an eye for an eye” or “tooth for a tooth” but MERCY for the offending party.

This spirit of uprightness and mercy is very relevant and timely because we, though we’re Christians, want vengeance by all means when we are gravely wronged.

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A contemporary example of this is the tragedy that befell the only child of Asia’s sprint queen Lydia de Vega-Mercado who was hit and killed by a speeding vehicle.

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Theaggrieved Lydia could have demanded imprisonment for the driver’s reckless imprudence, but after long agonizing discernment together with her husband, sherelented and forgave the driver, saying, “Nobody wanted this to happen.”

She also thought of the poor familywho depended on him for their meager income.

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MODEL OF FATHERS.St. Joseph is also a model of all fathers. Their role as good fathers should be manifested by good example in word and deed. If they teach children not to gamble, drink, lie, steal, or be unfaithful, they should strive to shunall these, otherwise their children get scandalized and say, “I can’t hear what my father is saying because I don’t see it in his action.”

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UNSUNG HEROES.There are many other “good and just” people in the world, but their stories are seldom splashed on the front page of newspapers or shown on TV.

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You see and hear all about scandals, “tsismis,” movie/sports celebrities and entertainers – not to mention politicians, some of whom are clowns, too.

But how often do you hear about the people who quietly go about their work, helping and “being there” when they are needed?

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Let’s say a prayer of gratitude to these quiet but dedicated workers – parents, teachers, mechanics, garbage collectors, nurses, caregivers, janitors, farmers, drivers.

They are our modern-day St. Josephs.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE.I’ve never realized how bad the economy was until I spoke to Sta. Claus on the phone. During our chat, I asked: “How’s reindeer Rudolph?”

He said, “Delicious!”

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There are four stages in a man’s life. First, when he believes in Sta. Claus. Second, when he doesn’t believe in Sta. Claus anymore. Third, when he is Sta. Claus. Fourth, when he looks like Sta. Claus. (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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