March 19, 2006
vol. 17, no. 65
Royal Prince of the House of David |
The Sovereign Lineage of the King of Kings effected the sublime and loyal to make way for the Divine through the humility and nobleness of the last great Father of the House of David.
"'Of old,' says St. Bernard, 'the Patriarch Joseph stored up food not only for himself but for all the people. Saint Joseph received the living bread come down from Heaven and guarded it, both for himself and for the whole world.' Today we 'go to Joseph' with confidence."
Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Third Sunday of Lent, he foregoes a sermon for the Sunday liturgy in favor of tomorrow's Double of the First Class Feast of Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus Christ and chaste protector and spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as Universal Patron of Holy Mother Church. In his sermon, Father points out how the saints remind us of St. Joseph's namesake, the Joseph of Genesis who was sold into slavery, yet did not turn on his people when they needed him. Nor did the holy Joseph when to be betrothed to the Virgin with child, for he knew it was God's will and that somehow he had been prepared for all time to pass on the heritage of David to the King of Kings, the greatest of the lineage of royal rulers for he was Supreme. Father illustrates how Joseph was the perfect parent to pass on the morals and values that his Divine foster Son would establish for all time for His holy Church upon the Rock of Peter. Father provides background on the perfect geneology passed down and the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, and how Joseph was the link between the Old and the New, chosen to nurture the Father's Son as his own and then pass Him on to the faithful for all time as the Messiah to verify to all the two natures of Christ: human and divine. Father shows where Pope Leo XIII and St. Teresa of Avila entreated the faithful to "go to Joseph" to intercede for them for he has a special ear that our Lord always hears. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]
Traditionally today is the Solemn Feast of St. Joseph, Royal Prince of the House of David. While the Church, because of Lent, transfers the feast to tomorrow in order to celebrate it fully and still maintain the Lenten liturgy, I would like to speak of St. Joseph today. St. Joseph takes his name from the patriarch Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel), who was sold as a slave into Egypt by his envious brothers, and became the administrator of the land of Egypt under the pharaoh. When seven years of famine struck, the Egyptians were told by the pharaoh: "Go to Joseph and do what he tells you" (Genesis 41:55). Joseph had stored grain during the seven years of plenty, and oversaw the apportioning of food to the people, so that when his brothers came to him with their father, Jacob, he became their benefactor. "He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions," says the psalm (104:21), words which would later be applied by the Church to St. Joseph.
"Of old," says St. Bernard, "the Patriarch Joseph stored up food not only for himself but for all the people. Saint Joseph received the living bread come down from Heaven and guarded it, both for himself and for the whole world." Today we "go to Joseph" with confidence.
Jesus Christ, the "Living Bread from Heaven," is called "Son of David" because He is David's descendant, and Heir to David's throne. The genealogies in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke show how this descent is traced. In both cases it is the genealogy of St. Joseph that is shown, but since St. Joseph is the legal father of Jesus, Jesus is legally of Davidic descent through St. Joseph, although Mary is also descended from David. This is inferred by St. Paul when he says that God's Son was born to Him "according to the flesh of the offspring of David" (Romans 1:3).
It is also implied in the words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, "He (Jesus) shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:32,33). Because St. Joseph was legally His father, and because He received His human nature from Mary, Jesus is therefore the Heir to the throne of David, the King of Israel, true Messiah and Lord.
We quote at length from the Crown of David website:
"There is not in the whole world a more splendid genealogy than that of St Joseph: it is through him that the King of Kings is a King among Kings - a King for Kings, since He is like them in having a royal ancestry and temporal nobility as they do. Joseph truly gave to Jesus everything which a father gives his child, and everything which the Head of a Royal House gives his heir, with the sole exception of biological generation. St Thomas Aquinas tells us that God gave Joseph a miraculous moral bond with Jesus, so that he would love Him as fully and perfectly as though He were his own true flesh and blood.
"Joseph is venerated in the Church as the Patron of Workers and of the Universal Church and as the Guardian of the Holy Family. It was his vocation as the husband of Mary and the legal father of Jesus to provide for and protect them both. Joseph was the Guardian not only of the Person of Jesus but also of His royal inheritance, for - like all the successors of Zedekiah the last King of Judah - he was the Curator of the Throne until the time came for him to abdicate in favor of the One for whom it was destined…
"The Jewish law of royal succession provides that the Throne shall pass from father to son in order of primogeniture, though a King can name any male he pleases as his successor, as long as he is Jewish and of the House of David. The King can freely abdicate at any time. Since we read in the Gospels that Joseph was a just man, we can be certain that he surrendered his ancient title to his new-born Son, who is acclaimed even from His birth as the King of the Jews. (Matthew 1:19, 2:2).
"The same law also prescribes that a man stands to inherit from his own son as long as the son is childless. Since Our Lord never fathered children, St Joseph held by this law the dignity of the first Crown Prince of Judah, Israel and All the Holy Land in the reign of Christ the King on the Throne of David.
"In the early sixteenth century the pious Dominican Isidore Isolano prophesied that 'the sound of victory' will be heard in the Church Militant 'when the faithful recognize the sanctity of St. Joseph. The Lord will let His light shine, He will lift the veil, and great men will search out the interior gifts of God that are hidden in St Joseph; they will find in him a priceless treasure, the like of which they had never found in other saints of the Old Testament. We are inclined to believe that toward the end of time God will overwhelm St Joseph with glorious honors… At some future time the Feast of St Joseph will be celebrated as one of the greatest of feasts. The Vicar of Christ, inspired by the Holy Spirit, will order this Feast to be celebrated in the Universal Church'" (www.crownofdavid.com/english/stjoseph.htm).
In times of trouble, "Go to Joseph," says Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical, Quamquam Pluries, On Devotion to St. Joseph (Aug. 15, 1889), lamenting the evils of his time:
"We see faith, the root of all the Christian virtues, lessening in many souls; we see charity growing cold; the young generation daily growing in depravity of morals and views; the Church of Jesus Christ attacked on every side by open force or by craft; a relentless war waged against the Sovereign Pontiff; and the very foundations of religion undermined with a boldness which waxes daily in intensity… In circumstances so unhappy and troublous, human remedies are insufficient, and it becomes necessary, as a sole resource, to beg for assistance from the Divine power."
St. Teresa of Avila attests to the intercessory power of St. Joseph:
"It seems that to other saints our Lord has given power to help us in only one kind of necessity; but this glorious saint, I know by my own experience, assists us in all kinds of necessities... I only request, for the love of God, that whoever will not believe me will test the truth of what I say, for he will see by experience how great a blessing it is to recommend oneself to this glorious Patriarch and to be devout to him... Whoever wants a master to instruct him how to pray, let him choose this glorious saint for his guide, and he will not lose his way" (St. Teresa of Avila, Autobiography).
St. Joseph, Royal Prince of the House of David, pray for us!
Father Louis J. Campbell