Christmas with St Joseph: The Guardian of Jesus

KOTA KINABALU: This time, the St Simon Catholic Church Likas parish decided to celebrate Christmas especially in the company of Joseph, the guardian of Jesus.

“That we may receive the birth of the Lord in the same spirit as ‘holy Joe’,” the rector of St Simon Catholic Church Likas, Fr Cosmas Lee, told the packed church, here, on Dec 24, 2017.

The guardian of Jesus, he said, was responsible for Jesus’ well-balanced upbringing and “to grow up well in the beautiful family, in stature and wisdom, in order to teach us the way of God’s love and to die for us all”.

How is St Joseph the greatest of males? Why is he so full of manliness as to be chosen to be the father of God’s son on earth and head of the Holy Family, the guardian of Jesus? The rector posed these questions to the crowd.

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The nativity scene in the church. – pix by Douglas Yu

“Who is a man? Who is manly? Made in God’s image, the male of the human species, has been made according to the image of God, the Father. To develop into that fatherly image, to serve as father and head of the human family, so that the love of God the Father, be seen and experienced by every human person on earth.

“To know a male physically is easy enough. But to find a man who lives and plays his role to perfection takes some reflection, and I invite the men to reflect a bit tonight.

“The first requirement to be truly manly is faith. To know, believe and serve God the Father who designs, who initiates, who has a clear and sure vision about what life should be according to God’s will. And to give his life, to lead and accomplish it, come what may – that’s manliness.

“A woman is made in the image of God, our Mother, to nurture, to keep and to hold like Mother Mary. Joseph was a man of great faith. Scripture scholars have now understood that Joseph knew and believed indeed that the child of Mary was of the Holy Spirit.

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The packed main church.

“His struggle was not whether to believe. Rather, why he, ‘simple Joe’, should continue to be involved in such a holy thing? To continue or not, to be the husband of Mary, through whom God was coming to us in the flesh.”

Joseph wondered about his worthiness, Fr Cosmas said of the former’s humility. “Perhaps worried about dirtying of God’s holy plan to come to earth. But Joseph was a man of faith, of dreams, of deep perception.

“He finally clearly discerned and accepted that he, ‘simple Joe’, is to be deeply involved, to be the husband of the Mother of God, and father of the child and head of the Holy Family.”

The rector also highlighted how God came to earth through the family. “It is to be the head of the way God has decided to come to us – through a family. A family that is holy, in which to grow up, and so to bring the Good News of God’s love to the point of dying for us.”

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The packed hall.

All these was led by St Joseph, the rector said, adding:

“A true man of faith, Joseph bravely and decisively took on the holy mission given to him. He took Mary home. Although both Mary and Joseph remained virgin, they were the most loving of all spouses and model parents to their child Jesus.”

The rector then spoke briefly on the chronological life of Jesus from birth to His “rebellious” growing up years where He was disciplined by His carpenter father, Joseph.

Jesus was about 30 years old, probably after the death of his father Joseph, when he started preaching.

“Everybody thought He was the son of the Joseph from Nazareth. If we want to know more of Jesus, look at St Joseph. If we want to know more about Joseph, look more at Jesus, for Jesus is a true chip from the old block.”

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The packed chapel.

Joseph does not need attention, the rector said. “Just pay attention, look at his son, Jesus, born for us today.”

“In the company of Joseph, the head of the Holy Family, the patron of the whole Church,  let’s celebrate Christmas,” Fr Cosmas said, concluding the sermon.

“With him, in his manly, fatherly and sure presence, let us rejoice and welcome the Saviour of the world – Jesus, Christ our Lord. Blessed Christmas.”

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