The Year of Joseph

I hear Joseph silently confessing his sinfulness to the Angel of the Lord (see Matthew 1:18–25):

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed.”

We have critical memory loss, but the Holy Spirit remembers. The Holy Spirit gave us the Year of Joseph to help us re-member our Family History. We are members of the Holy Family of Nazareth: Jesus is our Brother, Mary is our Mother and Joseph is our Holy Father.

Yes, we all suffer — more or less — severe memory loss. In the First Millennium of Christianity, we focused on articulating the Hypostatic Union, the union of one Divine Person with all of humanity by assuming the fullness of human nature (in everything but sin). We defined dogmatically the title Mother of God, thus articulating the fullness of Jesus’ divinity and humanity united in one Divine Person.

In the Second Millennium of Christianity, devotion to the Mother of God flourished from the “bud” that was planted in the First Millennium. In the Second Christian Millennium, the Successor of Peter proclaimed ex cathedra the indisputable Dogma of the Immaculate Conception and Her Glorious Bodily Assumption into Heaven.

In the Third Millennium of Christianity, the Holy Spirit calls us to go to Joseph. The Holy Spirit, our Divine Memory, pleads with us to remember Joseph, our Holy Father.

Hermeneutic of Continuity

During the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, in union with every member of His Body, Christ the Head offers on Calvary the only holy, acceptable, living, eternal Thanksgiving Sacrifice for our Salvation: and we, the faithful, enter into Holy Communion with Jesus and Mary-and-Joseph.

“Toda” is the Hebrew word for thanksgiving: before the Apostles began using the Greek word, “eucharist,” they knew the one Holy Sacrifice as the Toda Sacrifice.

The Toda Sacrifice is a Jewish Sacrifice: it is the only Jewish Sacrifice still offered daily (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus; Feast of Faith, Ignatius Press, 1986; page 58). Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish man, daily offers this Jewish Toda Sacrifice on altars all over the world.

A Jewish husband and wife — the Mother and human father of Jesus — initiate this one Holy Sacrifice when they offer their divine Son to God the Father in the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2:22-40); and, together as one on Calvary, Jesus and His Jewish Mother – still united in hearts, minds, and wills with Joseph — complete and perfect the only acceptable Sacrifice. The Church is our Family: Jesus is our Brother, Mary is our Mother, and Joseph is our human Holy Father in Faith. In every Mass, we offer the one Holy Jewish Sacrifice with our Holy Jewish Family.

We cannot honestly receive the true and real human Flesh and Blood of our Lord and Savior and deny that it is Jewish Flesh and Blood; we cannot participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice and deny that it is the only true Jewish Sacrifice! This is the “hermeneutic of continuity.”

Judah-ism is never ruptured!

Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote in German in 1981:

The passion and resurrection of Jesus is toda. It is the real fulfillment of the words of the great Christological Psalms of the New Testament (69, 51, 40, and 22) at a new depth. Indeed, it is as if the words had been waiting for their profound fulfillment in Jesus, a fulfillment which surpasses every individual destiny, whether of death or of deliverance, and which also surpasses the merely collective destiny of Israel, expanding both individual and collective destinies into something far greater and hitherto unknown.1 (my emphasis)

Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) continues, “What is toda?” In the toda Sacrifice, a person “celebrates divine deliverance in a service of thanksgiving which marks an existential new start in his life” (page 55). The person “confesses (jd[h]) God to be his deliverer by celebrating a toda” (my emphasis). Here we discover the root of the literal meaning of Judah-ism. “Toda” and “confesses” are Hebrew variations of the same word: to offer thanks; to praise; to confess.

The name of the fourth son of Jacob/Israel is Judah (jd[h]): “[Leah] conceived and gave birth to a son and said: now I will praise the Lord. So, she called him Judah.” (Genesis 29:35) Judah, literally, means “one who confesses, praises, offers toda.”

Judah-ism, in its most radical sense, refers to the universal religion of all (truly catholic religion) who confess, praise, and offer thanksgiving to the God of Abraham. In recent centuries (perhaps millennia), humans have forgotten this original radical and true sense of Judah-ism. When we offer the Jewish Toda Sacrifice on the altar (the Mass), are we not practicing true Judah-ism? Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict pointed to our answer in 1981 (Feast of Faith; English translation, 1986) when he said: “the words had been waiting for their profound fulfillment in Jesus . . . expanding both individual and collective destinies into something far greater and hitherto unknown.” (page 55 cited above; my emphasis)

End of enmity between brothers in the human Holy Family

The Holy Spirit most certainly surprised the Apostles after the Resurrection, and continues to surprise us today! The gospels consistently identify Jesus as the “son of Joseph,” even though everyone then, and to this day, knows that the Jewish Messiah must come from the Tribe of Judah; and, the tribes of Judah and Joseph were enemies! In the Book of Genesis, Joseph is the dominant hero and “savior”: Pharaoh gave Joseph an Egyptian name, “the Savior of the world.” (Genesis 41:45; Douay English translation)

The first Joseph became rich and privileged. Why, then, must the Messiah come through the Tribe of Judah? Jesus points to an answer when He declares: “This is my commandment, love one another as I have loved you. No greater love has a person than to give his life for his brother/friend.” (John 15:12–13) Judah is the brother in the Book of Genesis who — twice — literally offers his life for his brother: Judah promises his father, “I myself will guarantee [Benjamin’s] safety; hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not restore him to you, I will be guilty of sin against you forever”; and to Joseph, Judah pleads, “Take me as your slave in place of my brother.” (Genesis 43:9 and 44:33–34)

“Judah” literally means “one who confesses,” and Judah is the son who offers his life for his brother. The Apostles and Evangelists carefully document the pedigree of the new Joseph (of Nazareth) from the Tribe of Judah through David. In Joseph of Nazareth, the “enmity between Joseph and Judah” is reconciled (Isaiah 11:13 and 7:17). The enmity between all siblings and all humans is reconciled by the Holy Family of Nazareth offering the eternal Toda Sacrifice.

Both you and I enter into the fulfillment, the fullness and perfection of Judah-ism when we offer the Holy Sacrifice with the Holy Jewish Family.

The Suffering Servant hides in Nazareth

Isaiah explains that the Messiah will be hidden when He comes: He will be a “bud” from the stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1ff). The Hebrew noun for “bud” in Isaiah 11:1 is “n-tz-r”, from which comes the adjective “nazarene.” The insignificant, unnoticed “bud” — the Nazarene — “has no appearance that we should look at him” (Isaiah 53:1ff). In the Book of Immanuel (First Isaiah, chapters 6 to 12), God explains — through Isaiah — that all the “mighty trees” will be cut down; only stumps and stubble will remain (Isaiah 10:16-19 and 33-34); and, like a tiny “mustard seed,” a tiny “bud” — a Nazarene — will appear and become fruitful (Isaiah 11:1ff). This “bud” grows in Nazareth (the home of the “n-tz-r”); Joseph and Mary and Jesus live ordinary lives for decades. In Nazareth, the Suffering Servant described in Deutero Isaiah (Isaiah chapters 40 to 55) “grew in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men” (Luke 2:52)!

The Suffering Servant grew in Nazareth, hidden from the world, and became the Mystical Body of Christ offered and consumed daily on altars in every corner of the world!

We speak of a Mystery “too wonderful to understand” (Job 42:3); we repeatedly attempt to articulate the Mysterium Fidei. We confess (jd[h]) our Faith in the Jewish Messiah and His Mysterious Sacrifice for our sins. Using human language, we attempt to articulate and proclaim the “Great Mystery” of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9), the Wedding of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32).

The Suffering Servant truly (not “analogously” but “in fact”) offers Himself on the altar; the priest and the people all proclaim, “Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world,” and we consume the whole Suffering Servant, the Head and all the members! We proclaim: “Let it be done to me according to your Word; Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed.”

Torah — the Law — is fulfilled and perfected (Matthew 5:17) when the Word of the Lord offers the only acceptable Sacrifice. The Word of God is joined for all eternity with humans; together in Christ, Mary-with-Joseph — and every member of the Mystical Body (every faithful member of the People of God) — offer the eternal Jewish Sacrifice for the Salvation of the world, fulfilling and perfecting “all the Law and the Prophets.”

God raised up Moses and Aaron and established the Levitical Priesthood to discipline and protect His Chosen People when they were not yet fully mature. He taught them a lesson when He gave them the Passover Sacrifice and led them out of Egypt: the Passover Lamb and the parting of the Red Sea were primitive types, historical realities prefiguring a fulfillment in the “fullness of time.”

Isaiah, according to Saint Jerome and other Church Fathers, is the Proto-Evangelist called by God to proclaim the Gospel (Isaiah 6: “Who shall I send?” “Here I am, send me.”) Isaiah’s detailed description of the Suffering Servant is quoted repeatedly by the other evangelists. “In the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4 and Ephesians 1:10), God sent His Son to Mary-and-Joseph in Nazareth, to two faithful and righteous Jews who heard the Psalms of David and did them: Joseph-and-Mary lived the Psalms. In the fullness of time, Joseph and Mary became the first Servants of the Lord who meditate on His Law day and night (Psalm 1); and they do it, they keep the Law! Mary proclaims to Archangel Gabriel: “I am the Servant of the Lord” (Luke 3:38); and, Joseph silently proclaims in union with Mary: “I am the Servant of the Lord.”

Mary-and-Joseph with Jesus, the Holy Family offers God the Son to God the Father. Abraham’s consent to offer his beloved son was a type, prefiguring the Eternal Sacrifice offered by the Holy Family in Truth. On Calvary, God the Father accepts the Holy Family’s offering; and, Jesus declares: “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

Jesus begins His public ministry at the River Jordan with his cousin, John from the Tribe of Levi. John says, “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). The two cousins, John and Jesus, proclaim the transition from the temporary Levitical Priesthood to the eternal Priesthood according the Order of Melchisedek with the identical proclamation: “Repent! The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:1–2 and 4:13–17)

I hear voices

In the Mass, I enter God’s time; humans see the Mass as “anachronistic.” In the one Holy Sacrifice offered daily on the altar, the Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and Descent of the Holy Spirit become present in a timeless manner beyond human words, the Sacred Mystery of our Faith!

In the one holy Sacrifice, Jesus suffers and dies. His Body is broken. His Body and Blood are separated in death! And, suddenly, quietly, on the altar, the ordained minister in persona Christi breaks the Bread — the “fraction”: the Body is broken and a small piece is reunited with the Precious Blood in the Chalice! The Body and Blood are reunited: Christ is risen!

The ordained minister and all the faithful proclaim again the Real Presence of the Suffering Servant: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” In God’s time, I hear John announce (as Jesus is approaching his cousin, John, along the Jordan River): “Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29 and 36; referring to Isaiah 53) This proclamation — proclaimed by all the faithful at the climax of the Holy Sacrifice on the altar — evokes the symbolism of a Passover Lamb. The Passover-Exodus symbolism is fulfilled in the reality on the altar. I hear John the Baptist, the final Levite, announcing the eternal Presence of “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world”; I hear him announce the Real Presence of the Suffering Servant described by Isaiah the Proto-Evangelist. The Risen Lamb is the Suffering Servant!

Matthew, Mark, and Luke each report the Baptism without recording John’s announcement of the Suffering Servant; these three evangelists do, however, report the words of God the Father confirming the true and Real Presence, in flesh and blood, of the Suffering Servant. When Jesus is Baptized, God the Father proclaims (a slight variation of) the beginning of the First Servant Song of Isaiah: “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22) The First Servant Song declares: “Here is my Servant, whom I uphold, my Chosen, in whom my soul delights. I will put my Spirit on Him [on the “bud” / “n-tz-r”], and he will bring justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:1ff and Isaiah 11:1ff)

The Passover Lamb prefigures the Suffering Servant. The Passover Lamb does not rise from the dead, does not return after it is slaughtered. The Passover Lamb does not take away the sins of the world! The Suffering Servant conquers death: “It was the Lord’s will to crush him, to cause him to suffer; and when his soul is made an offering for sin, he will see his offspring, he will prolong his days. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied. By his knowledge my Servant shall justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:10–12)

“Behold, My Servant will prosper; He will be lifted up and highly exalted.” (Isaiah 52:13; the beginning of the Fourth Servant Song) The Beloved Disciple, John, saw in a vision “a Lamb standing [living] as it were slain . . . Worthy is the [risen] Lamb who was slain.” (Revelation 5:6, 12) In the Novus Ordo, the celebrant adds the proclamation recorded in Revelation 19:9: “And he said to me, ‘Write, blessed are those who are called to the [Wedding] Supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the True Words of God.’”

Service and Suffering

In the Gloria, usually proclaimed in the beginning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, we give praise to “Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world.” We are not describing the Passover Lamb, the primitive symbol given to us in our arrogant youth: we are proclaiming, with John the Baptist and all the faithful, Jesus is the Suffering Servant!

Jesus came to serve and to suffer, and frequently quotes the Servant Songs in Isaiah:

He that will be first among you shall be your servant; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:27–28; citing Isaiah 53)

He suffered and offered His life for sinners. He is the Servant Who Suffers! He calls you and me; He pleads with every one of us to join Him. “Pick up your cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) He is pleading with you and me to be in-corporated into the eternal Suffering Servant, the Lamb standing Who was slain.

The Suffering Servant is alive and offering Himself to us, inviting us to become incorporated into His Body! With Mary-and-Joseph we become Servants in the Servant.

What do we say before we consume the Sacred Host? We all — the ordained minister and all the faithful — proclaim (a slight variation of) the living words spoken by the centurion in Capernaum: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word and my soul [instead of “servant”] shall be healed.” (Matthew 8:8)

And, in the mystery of Divine Providence, the centurion gives “voice” to Joseph’s silent confession when God the Father called Joseph to be the Guardian of the Redeemer (Redemptoris Custos) and Patron of the Universal Church (Matthew 1:18–25).

I hear Jesus say to the centurion: “I will go [to your home] and heal him.” (Matthew 8:7) When I am approaching the altar to receive the Eucharist, I hear Jesus say to Zacchaeus: “Hurry and come down, for this day I intend to stay at your house.” (Luke 19:5) Jesus calls you and me personally to enter into intimate loving Holy Communion with Him and all the members of His Mystical Body, all the members of the Suffering Servant. And I reply with Joseph and everyone present: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof.”

A few verses after the account of healing the centurion’s servant, Matthew connects the episode, in biblical language, with the Suffering Servant: “Many who were possessed with devils were brought to Jesus; He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.’” (Matthew 8:16–17, my emphasis, citing the Fourth Servant Song, Isaiah 53:4)

Earlier, to remove any doubt that the Eucharist is the Suffering Servant, Matthew begins his account of Jesus’ public ministry with the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Matthew 4:12ff). Jesus “withdrew to Galilee,” and “leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which is by the sea in the region of Zebulon and Naphtali, to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah”; and, quoting Isaiah at length to mark the beginning of the Messiah’s public ministry, Matthew identifies all those who Jesus came to save:

Land of Zebulon, land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. (Matthew 4:12–16, citing Isaiah 9:1–7)

We are “the people who sat in darkness . . . living in the land of the shadow of death.”

God called Mary and Joseph from Galilee of the Gentiles to be the first humans “living in the land of the shadow of death [on whom] light has dawned.” God wrote the new eternal Covenant in Mary’s Immaculate Heart at the moment of her conception. God wrote the new eternal Covenant in Joseph’s Pure Heart soon after his conception.

Jesus is the Light. Everyone — both the ordained minister and the congregation — who receives the Eucharist confesses with the centurion (and with Mary and Joseph): “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof.” We are the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel” whom Jesus came to bring back! (Matthew 10:6 and 15:24) “The Way of the Sea, Galilee of the Gentiles” identifies all “the people who sat in darkness” all the prodigal daughters and sons who have gone away from the Lord.

(Mary and Joseph are descended from Adam and Eve and thus included with all people who sat in darkness, included with all the prodigal daughters and sons: Mary and Joseph each needed the merits of the unique Sacrifice of Christ — our one mediator with God and humans (I Timothy 2:5) — on Calvary. God the Father, in His boundless mercy, has bestowed grace and merits on Mary and Joseph in unique and extraordinary manners.)

All pride must be removed before we receive our Lord in the Eucharist: we confess our unworthiness and ask for mercy.

Miraculously, we receive the Suffering Servant; and beyond all human imagination — beyond all human expectation — we are called to be members of His Body and co-operators in the one Holy Sacrifice!

Remembering the Year of Joseph

When He came into the world, He said: “A body you prepared for me.” (Hebrews 10:5)

The Holy Sacrifice seems “anachronistic”: it jumps around from the Cenacle (Upper Room in Jerusalem) to Isaiah, to the Last Supper, to the words of John the Baptist on the River Jordan, to the words of the centurion in Capernaum, and back to the Last Supper before Good Friday, and to the Upper Room for forty days — for fifty days — after the Resurrection. The one Holy Sacrifice includes the entire Incarnation and Redemption!

The Feast of Christ the King followed by the First Week of Advent reminds us that our Liturgical Year also includes the entire Incarnation and Redemption. “But of this one thing be not ignorant, my Beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 8). God’s time is not our time. When we enter the Liturgical Year, we enter God’s time.

The one Holy Sacrifice includes the entire Incarnation and Redemption; and the Liturgical Year includes the entire Incarnation and Redemption! In fact, the Incarnation includes Redemption: Incarnation and Redemption are not two separate Mysteries! The Word became flesh; the Incarnation includes the Mass and all the Sacraments, and the entire Liturgical Year.

The Holy Spirit gave us the “Year of Joseph” in God’s perfect time; Divine Providence has perfect timing. The Year of Joseph taught us that God includes Joseph and Mary in the Incarnation; the Holy Spirit reminds us of Joseph’s role in the Incarnation-and-Redemption.2

During the Holy Season of Advent, we reflected on the pregnancy of a married virgin; we joined her and her husband in preparation for the labor and delivery. During the First Week of Advent 2021, SCOTUS heard oral arguments about when life begins. Every year, Advent reminds us again that life begins at conception. Theologically, Advent begins with conception on March 25 when the wife of Joseph becomes pregnant with a Son and remains an immaculate Virgin.

In this Third Christian Millennium, I believe we all suffer from biblical memory loss. We are easily confused when we celebrate the Immaculate Conception in the second week of Advent, and even more confused when we opened and closed the Year of Joseph on December 8. We forget that, when He came into the world, He said: “A body you prepared for me.” (Hebrews 10:5 citing Psalm 40:6 [39:7]). We forget the Book of Genesis; we forget that, when the Word becomes flesh, He follows His own Plan for human life. Every Advent celebrates, in God’s time, this “time of preparation.”

In the mysterious revelation to us humans, the Year of Joseph reminded us of facts known to the Apostles: Blessed Miriam was conceived by Anna and Joachim and preserved free from any stain of sin from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, and, when she was of age to become a wife and mother, she gave herself in marriage to another human. Of course, she gave herself to Joseph knowing it was God’s Will.

She loved Joseph with a pure, chaste, virginal love. “Mary fell in love with Joseph.” (Fabrice Hadjadj, To Be A Father With Saint Joseph; Magnificat; 2021; page 34) She became the perfect and most loving wife of Joseph and they were no longer two but one flesh. Yes, one flesh in the truest sense: their hearts were united! They were united in heart, mind, and soul in their love of God, and their most pure desire to do God’s will. Joseph and Mary entered into immaculate, virginal, real marriage and became husband and wife before the Incarnation. God prepared this “body” of immaculate virginal human marriage before He came into the world, before the Word became flesh. This is our meditation for the entire Liturgical Year, the fruit of the Year of Joseph.

The preparation — spoken of in the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Psalm of David — begins with the Immaculate Conception in the womb of Anna. This preparation includes the true Marriage Covenant Union: Mary and Joseph are no longer two but one body.

Liturgically “during” Advent (in God’s time), the body is prepared and the Word becomes flesh nine months before Christmas, when the Virgin, in Covenant Union with Joseph, proclaims, “Let it be according to your Word.”

The Year of Joseph commenced and concluded with the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception celebrating the Victory promised in Genesis 3:15: she will crush the head of the serpent. I hear the Holy Spirit telling us that Joseph is the Terror or Demons: Mary-and-Joseph together-as-one crush the head of the serpent.3

When we see with human eyes, the Advent Liturgy seems anachronistic and confusing; and Jesus admonishes us to get behind Him when we (with Peter) see with human eyes (Matthew 16:23). The Divine Liturgy draws us into God’s time. Advent celebrates human pregnancy and teaches us to wait with Joseph for the Virgin to go into labor.

Throughout the year, waiting is painful: we suffer! The Incarnation includes all the Mysteries; the Holy Sacrifice includes all the Mysteries; the Liturgical Year includes them all. Every day of the year includes painful waiting: we “suffer” through Advent in every Liturgical Season, and Jesus warns us to always be ready — like the wise virgins — for His Coming.

With the rapidly escalating assault on marriage and family, and on every aspect of the sacredness of human life, this spiritual readiness is urgently needed. We are the proverbial frog in the boiling water: in God’s time, the water is already boiling and getting hotter. Can we endure several more years? Some — only God knows who they are — have already lost their faith and hope. Let us pray for these days to be shortened (Matthew 24:22); for, if they are not shortened, even the elect may be deceived (Matthew 24:24). I hear Jesus replying to those “servants” who are eager to pull up the weeds sown by the enemy: “Suffer both to grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will say to the reapers: gather up first the weeds and bind them into bundles to burn.” (Matthew 13:30; my emphasis).

We are engaged in the “final battle” over Marriage-and-Family described by Sister Lucia.4 Through Faith, I know that in the end the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart and the Pure Heart of Joseph together-as-one will triumph. Mary-and-Joseph together-as-one will crush the head of the serpent.

We cannot go back in time, but we can remember the Apostolic Faith: Jesus and the Holy Spirit revealed to the Apostles Joseph’s role in the Incarnation and Redemption. The Apostolic Kerygma in chapter one of the final Gospel (according to John), explicitly identifies the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world” as the Son of Joseph (John 1:29, 36, and 45). An even more reliable source, the Immaculate Virgin herself, declares to her Son the “fact” that Joseph is Jesus’ human father: “Your father and I have been searching for you” (Luke 2:48).

Joseph and Mary act as one Body. The Apostles did not find it necessary to repeatedly affirm the marriage and to affirm Joseph’s fatherhood; their disciples knew that God did not, and would not, “become flesh” in an unmarried woman, and Jesus did not grow up without a human father.

Every Liturgical Year begins with a time of preparation and penance, of patience (suffering), purification and perseverance. Every Advent also celebrates the pregnancy of a married Virgin who is truly one with her husband Joseph: during Advent we celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe and honor the miraculous image of the pregnant married Virgin Mother.

Whether one hears Joseph speaking or not, Divine Revelation includes Joseph in the Plan of Salvation; so we do well to remember Joseph. In this Third Christian Millennium, the Holy Spirit gave us the Year of Joseph to help us remember Joseph. The Holy Spirit reminds us that God follows His Plan for human life when He redeems us: He creates human life in Marriage-and-Family and redeems human life in Marriage-and-Family.

Let us not “get lost in the weeds” before “harvest time.” Let us keep focused on the source, center, and summit of our Faith: the only eternal Toda Sacrifice. Let us trust in Divine Mercy and Jesus’ Promise that “for the sake of the elect, those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).

  1. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Feast of Faith (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, English translation 1986), 54–55.
  2. See Mark Drogin, “The Final Battle: Marriage and Family,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review; July 29, 2021.
  3. Drogin, “The Final Battle.”
  4. Drogin, “The Final Battle.”
Mark Drogin About Mark Drogin

Mark Drogin was born into a family of third-generation atheistic, socialist Jews in Los Angeles; he was baptized in the Catholic Church 28 years later. Today, Mark has a dozen living children, four dozen grandchildren, and half a dozen great-grandchildren; he lives in Texas where most of his children and grandchildren live.