Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
The figure of Joseph is one of my very favorite personalities in all of Sacred Scripture. Joseph was an uncommonly righteous man about whom the gospels provide very few details outside of the circumstances of his deep love for Mary and his gentle intention to save her from humiliation and danger. Joseph was unique because he allowed his love for the young maiden to guide his designs and plans – and equally important Joseph always followed his dreams which reflected his heart.
In our highly politicized world, we recognize that one’s identity is often governed by public impressions. People in public life can easily and sometimes do forget their own limitations and occasionally even their own strengths. They can be led to consent to embrace a personality as the result of public expectations. Joseph was never given over to being more than he was – a gentleman with a loving heart. Joseph’s role in Salvation History was key because he always led with his heart – what more need be said about the man?
The Order of Malta as you are well aware is engaged with a broad spectrum of charitable activities throughout the world – in a particular way, your service to the sick and the victims of natural disasters – of which recently there have been a great many – is a source of great honor for you and of immense assistance to countless thousands of people who find in you the very presence and concern of Christ Himself. These works of charity and fraternal outreach provide splendor to the insignia that you proudly wear.
I have come to know that the Sovereign Order of Malta goes about its charitable activities discreetly and without much fanfare – as did Joseph himself and as Christ would have you. However, you offer your charitable works with a sure determination that it is your duty before the Lord. In that way, you continue to reflect the personal attitude of Joseph, the Patron and exemplar for the Universal Church. Joseph appears in Scripture as a man with a clear mission and purpose. He went about his familial tasks with singular determination and so too do the members of the Order of Malta. I applaud your work and the single-mindedness of your desire to pursue holiness of life.
In addition to the members of the Order from the Federal Association in attendance for this annual Investiture ceremony, I recognize the presence of the many other guests from the Washington, DC area and beyond. I welcome you to this Eucharist and I assure you of the prayers and the esteem not only of the all the members of the Sovereign Order of Malta but also those who have benefitted from the compassionate care of the ones who energize this fine organization and who just like Joseph go about their tasks with gentleness of spirit and quiet determination. The members of the Order of Malta seek holiness of life as they go about quietly enriching the lives of those in need following the example of Joseph himself. Amen.