Daily Reflection
March 19th, 2002
Steve Kline
Public Relations
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Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary
2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16
Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29
Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22
Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24, or Luke 2:41-51

"When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him . . . "
          Matthew 1:24

Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and Dad to Jesus.

I'm a husband and a dad, too.

How does Joseph teach me?  Well, he's always there for Mary and Jesus, for one thing.

It was a recent Sunday.  I was overwhelmed.  So much going on at work that I was in a panic to spend a few hours at my desk sorting it through, trying to get a handle on the dozens of projects demanding my attention.  Tasks at home needed the same kind of attention.  Tax forms to fill out.  Bathrooms and vehicles to clean.  Workout plans to draw up.  Books and articles to read.  Letters and e-mails to write.

My 9-year-old daughter asked me to finish a game of Monopoly that we had started two days ago.  Reluctantly, I sat down, thinking I would give it 20 minutes or so and then get back to my plans and priorities.  My daughter has her own way of playing this game.  For example, if you don't like the "Chance" or "Community Chest" card you've drawn, you get to draw another.  Most curious, though, is her habit of keeping close track of my assets as well as her own.  When it looks like my money is running out, she slips me $500 from her own ample bank account.  When I land on one of her properties, she cuts the rent in half, or more.

This Sunday afternoon, however, I was distracted.  I felt I had stuff to do.  I began looking for a way to lose.  I tossed the dice.  I landed on "Chance."  I was assessed for street repairs!  That's it, I said.  I'm bankrupt, and out of the game.

Karyn burst into tears.

Competitive as she is, she was not playing this game to win.  In an instant of painful clarity, I realized that she was playing this game just to be with her dad.  That's why she kept him solvent.  And now that he was leaving, she wailed.

My wife, who had observed all this, came over and whispered into my ear:

"She's only going to be 9 years old for a little while longer."

My heart broke.

I wonder if Joseph's heart broke when he looked at his pregnant wife-to-be and thought of the dream-angel's words:  "Don't fear.  Go ahead and marry her."  I wonder if his heart broke when God told him to hit the road with his young wife and new baby.  I wonder if his heart broke when his son turned up missing three days out from Jerusalem.

The thing about Joseph, you see, is that we never see him distracted by any stuff that takes him away from his family.  There's never any question where his heart's desire is directed.  He's focused on his God, his wife and his child.  He's not really a marquee player, like Mary or Jesus.  But without him, they would never get where they needed to be.

What does Joseph teach me about being a husband and dad?  A couple of thoughts to carry me into Joseph's day:

You need to keep quiet and stay focused on God.  You need to stay in the game, especially if it's Monopoly on a Sunday with your 9-year-old daughter. 

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