Love comes in many forms. True Love has but one form: ”to give up one’s life for a friend” (Jn 15:13). Jesus not only defined true Love but lived it and died it. His sacrifice was not the first. True love was prefigured – albeit not as perfectly as His – by many persons throughout the centuries leading up to His incarnation.
Men like Moses, Samuel, Daniel, and other men who served as judges, prophets or leaders, sacrificed, put aside, their quest for personal gain and, instead, followed, maybe not perfectly, God’s Will for them. Women, too, like Deborah and Esther, again not perfectly, did what had to be done, despite their own risk of loss. Each of them sacrificed a bit of their lives for the greater Glory of God. Truly, the Spirit of Christ – sacrificial love – was present throughout ancient times, often in a hidden way but sometimes more openly, giving mankind a glimpse of what Jesus would show us on the cross.
Then there was Joseph, the husband of Mary, the virgin mother of Christ in time. We can only speculate, without any evidence, about his desires and aspirations. One thing is certain, though, from today’s Gospel: he was an honorable man, a holy man, and a man in whom Fear of the Lord was imbued in his character and the foundation of his love of God.
Here is an unfair question for every man. How many men do you know, including yourself, who have never exposed their wife, or the dignity of womanhood, to shame? It’s easy to point the finger at all those who have made the news but what about the everyday, run-of-the-mill male who has poked fun at the dignity of womanhood with foul language or off color jokes? What about condescending remarks made towards a woman’s behavior, decisions or demeanor or the lack of respect shown in public places in our actions? Don’t forget lust.
The point is simple. We need more men to live their dignity as God created them to be. We need more Josephs.