holy family

March 19, 2022 | Sr. Pat Bergen, CSJToday's Readings

"Where there is dignity there is participation. Where there is participation there is justice. Where there is justice there is holiness."

St. Joseph, a listener and a dreamer, followed the inspirations of Love given in dreams. 

This courageous listener (or crazy listener, as his tribe might have called him) crossed the boundaries of the Holiness Code of his tradition. He loved Mary, someone who was considered “not holy,” and therefore was designated as “unholy” himself. 

Blessed by his crossing of the Holiness Code, Joseph became the first midwife of Jesus. (Could this be why Joseph is claimed as Companion of the Universal Church?  Could this be why the congregation who sponsors Catholic Mobilizing Network is named the Congregation of St. Joseph?)

From Joseph, Jesus learned that there is no such thing as a being who is “not holy.” All that is, was, or ever will be is a presentation of Infinite Love. It is Love (our name for God) who makes us whole and holy. Some do not realize this. 

We know that it is in being loved that we awaken to the fact that we are lovely and realize our capacity to be loving. Born of this realization comes the desire that all our brothers and sisters experience the same. 

This passion animated the life of Jesus and the first Christians. This is the baptism of fire which missions the universal Church to live with love 24/7, all of our days!

Living with Joseph evoked in Jesus the courage to cross over to “the other side” of the same Holiness Code — to touch the blind, the crippled, women, sinners, and all called “not holy” by their tradition. 

Most did not understand Jesus’ ways, just as how, not long before, Joseph too had been misunderstood. Similarly, some will not understand as we cross boundaries of our modern tradition and culture to live with love and integrity. 

Do we believe that our dreams of a world united in love (as opposed to violence) are the result of the Spirit calling us to step beyond our present boundaries of who is considered worthy of love? Those “on the other side” — of an idea, of prison gates, or of a sense of belonging — are waiting. Where is our courage? 

Joseph, midwife of Jesus the Christ, midwifed a sense of dignity that grew to reverence the dignity of all creatures. Where there is dignity there is participation.

Where there is participation there is justice. Where there is justice there is holiness. 

In remembering the companionship of Joseph, we activate the stream of grace that flows through Joseph’s life to the present. May the stream of grace that courageously crosses boundaries, raising all to dignity, animate each of us today.