ON the Solemnity of St. Joseph, celebrated on March 19, the readings of the Mass highlight the importance and indispensability of faith, which is first of all a gift of God who starts to share his life, nature and power with us. With faith, we can start to have hope amid the confusing elements of our life, and to have charity amid the many challenges we are sure to encounter in life.

As long as we are receptive to this faith and act in accordance to it, we can be sure that we would be doing the right things, and what would seem hard or even impossible to do, can take place.

The first reading, for example, from the 2nd Book of Samuel (7,4-5.12-14.16), talks about how God told Nathan about how the kingdom of David will stand firm forever, thus showing how God shares his plans for man and with man. The second reading, from the Letter to the Romans (4,13.16-18.22) brings up the great faith of Abraham who hoped against hope in believing what God promised him.

The gospel (Mt 1,16.18-21.24) talks of the great faith St. Joseph had in the word of God. He immediately changed his plan of not proceeding with the marriage with Mary when he learned Mary was on the family way before they lived together. Even if it was only in a dream that he was told about the whole story of Mary’s condition, he just believed and took Mary to be his wife.

We should try to replicate this great faith of St. Joseph. Like him, we can be sure of receiving and enjoying God’s great love for us and many other benefits and privileges as long as we obey and follow God’s will, as long as we make ourselves available to that will even if some drastic efforts and sacrifices may have to be made.

We have to realize, though, that faith is a very dynamic thing. We can never say that we have enough faith. We should never be complacent in this regard. Faith needs to grow and grow as well as to inspire us more deeply, thoroughly and consistently.

We need to make it grow to cope with our natural needs. In this level alone, we always need faith to make things very clear for us, even if in theory we can handle the natural challenges and difficulties we can encounter in life.

We cannot deny that there are just too many of these natural challenges and difficulties for us to handle with a certain ease and confidence. Especially these days when the pace of development is faster, and the developments themselves are more complicated and tricky, we need the light of faith to see things properly.

Besides, it is faith that gives the ultimate meaning and proper direction to all our human knowledge and endeavors. It is what gives the original perspective to all events, good or bad, in our life. Otherwise, we would end up confused and lost.

We also need to make our faith grow to cope with the multiplying infranatural consequences of our human condition that is weakened by sin. There’s no other way to manage and survive the consequences of sin, ours and those of others, personal as well as the collective and structural, than by relying first of all on our faith.

We also need to make our faith grow to cope with the tremendous goal of attaining our supernatural goal in life, that of becoming the true image and likeness of God in which we have been created.