The Annunciation is first about Jesus becoming incarnate in Mary’s womb. It is also about Mary’s fiat, “let it be down to me according to thy will.” God’s condescension in becoming human and Mary’s yes are the turning point of human existence.
Joseph was absent at the moment the Angel appeared to Mary but once he was informed in a dream by the Angel of the nature of the child, he was never absent again. He was either physically present with Mary and Jesus or spiritually present if he was away for work. For the rest of his life Joseph physically served and guarded Jesus and Mary and spiritually led them as the head of the Holy Family.
Joseph was in every sense Jesus’ father on Earth while he was alive. This means he was theprimary educator for his son in all things. Yes, he taught him to be a Tekton – a worker of wood, stone and metal. But Joseph also taught Jesus about God and instructed him in the Jewish faith. For a very young Jesus, Joseph was the role model for what a father should be.
Joseph was in every sense the husband of Mary. As her Earthly spouse he had final say in their prayer life and where the family would live. For Joseph these were vital as he had to flee Herod’s wrath to protect Jesus and Mary and then decide when it was safe to return.
Of course Joseph was guided by God in all his decisions but for this to occur Joseph had to be attentive to God’s promptings in the care of his family. In this Joseph excelled! How many of us can make the same claim?
The Annunciation is the moment when God goes all in for our salvation. Joseph’s annunciation was the message given him in a dream. At that moment he had to decide if he was all in. For us, each day is another opportunity to decide to be all in for our family. God gave Joseph the grace to accomplish his task. We too have sufficient grace to accomplish our task. There really is no excuse.
When Joseph agreed to marry Mary he did not bargain for the task of raising the Son of God. He did not think he would become a refugee in a foreign land. But as the challenges presented themselves Joseph stood tall and listened and obeyed the promptings of God. We too can hear God’s promptings in our lives, in the Scriptures and at prayer.
Too many families today are suffering because the father, the husband, is not all in. Some men want to be good husbands and good fathers but lack a good role model to copy. This problem can be addressed if more men decide to work to be the best Dad, the best husband, they can be each day. Over time the numbers of good role models will grow and we will reach those men who currently are clueless as to what it really means to be a man.
We can consider this blog our annunciation, our call to action. None of us are perfect but we can hone each other with our particular skills. Together, we can be all in to become the men God created us to be, the husbands we are meant to be and the fathers our kids deserve.