The Church always honors St. Joseph with Mary and Jesus, especially during the Christmas solemnities. This day’s Gospel is indeed that of December 24th. A Coptic calendar tells us that St. Joseph was liturgically honored in a special way on July 20th, from the eight century. At the end of the fifteenth century his feast was kept on March 19th and in 1621 Gregory XV extended it to the whole Church. In 1870 Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph protector of the universal Church.
This Saint “of the royal race of David” was a just man (Gospel). As by his marriage with the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph has certain rights over the blessed fruit of the virginal womb of his spouse a moral affinity exists between him and Jesus. He exercised over the Child-God a certain paternal authority, which the Preface of St. joseph delicately alludes to as that of a foster-father. Without having begotten Jesus, St. Joseph by the bonds which unite him to Mary, is legally and morally the Father of the Son of the Blessed Virgin.
It follows that we must honor by a special homage this dignity of supernatural excellence of St. Joseph. “In the family of Nazareth”, says Cornelius a Lapide, “were the three greatest and most excellent persons in the world. Wherefore to Christ is due the divine worship, to the Virgin a higher worship than to Saint’s and to St Joseph the full worship due to Saints” God revealed to him the mystery of the Incarnation (ibid) and “chose him among all (Epistle) to commit to his care the Incarnate Word and the Virginity of Mary.”
The hymn of Lauds says that : “Christ and the Virgin were with him at his last hour and watched by him their faces gleaming with sweet serenity.” St. Joseph went to heaven for ever to enjoy the beatific vision of the Word whose humanity he had so long and so closely contemplated on earth. This Saint is therefore justly considered the patron and model of interior and contemplative souls. And in the heavenly home St. Joseph has a powerful influence over the heart of the Son of his most blessed Spouse (Collect).
Let us imitate at this holy season the purity, humility, the spirit of prayer and meditation of Joseph at Nazareth. Every parish priest celebrates Mass for the people of his parish.
INTROIT Psalm 91: 13, 14
The just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Lebanon. They that are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of the house of our God. V. Glory be…
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother, so that we cannot obtain of ourselves, may be given to us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest…
LESSON Ecclesiasticus 45: 1-6
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. Beloved of God and men, whose memory is in benediction. He made him like the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies, and with his words he made prodigies to cease. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and showed him His glory. He sanctified him in his faith and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh. For He heard him and his voice, and brought him into a cloud. And He gave him commandments before His face, and a law of life and instruction.
GRADUAL Psalm 20: 4, 5
For thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness: thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. V. He asked life of thee: and thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever.
TRACT: James 1: 12
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he hath he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life.
GOSPEL St. Matthew 1: 18-21
Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for That Which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call His name Jesus. For He shall save His people from their sins.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88: 25
My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted
We render Thee, O Lord, the debt of our service, humbly entreating that Thou wouldst preserve Thy gifts within us through the intercession of blessed Joseph, the Spouse of the Mother of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; on whose holy festival we offer to Thee the sacrifice of praise. Through our Lord…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 1: 20
But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.
Come to our assistance, we beseech Thee, O merciful God; and through the intercession of blessed Joseph Thy confessor, graciously preserve Thy gifts about us. Through our Lord…
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who trust in Thy protection, may by Thy help overcome all things standing in our way. Through our Lord…