There are many leading “characters” in the Advent season — Mary, John the Baptist, even the Angel Gabriel. But today’s Gospel reading focuses on one who sometimes gets a little less of the spotlight, one whose quiet and extremely steadfast faith isn’t splashy, but sets the most profound example for all of us: Joseph.
I’ve always admired Joseph, perhaps because he’s a bit more relatable than the others. He is not a miracle, or a prophet or a heavenly being. He’s like us. He’s kind. He’s skeptical. He wants to do the right thing, but he struggles.
He is human to the core. Not human and God. Not human without sin. But human, through and through, with all the flaws and doubts and hopes that we all have.
Imagine, here is this humble carpenter who thinks he has his whole future worked out. Yet he is thrust into a situation that is confusing and challenging, and he is asked to trust. Joseph hears a story via a dream that is almost impossible to believe, and he doesn’t run. He goes all in. He accepts. He adapts. He moves forward. And, in the end, he helps change the world.
It’s hard to fathom how incredibly strong his faith was. How deep his love was.
Oh, to be like Joseph. To believe when reason and common sense might tell you otherwise. To have faith when the world challenges and obstructs you. To love when it would be easier to leave.
The lessons of Joseph resonate all the more because he is not a being of extraordinary powers; he is human – like us. Thus, thanks to his relatively ordinary life we know that exceptional faith is possible.
Laura Geiser is a SLU alumna and the Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications.