Saints and Scholars Newsletter May 3, 2023

Dear families and friends of Lumen,

Happy feast of St. Joseph the Worker! Yesterday’s feast occurs the day after Good Shepherd Sunday – a happy coincidence, because St. Joseph, in guarding, protecting, and caring for Jesus and Mary, exemplifies all the human qualities of the “Good Shepherd” that Jesus would go on to articulate in His ministry.

Yet the Good Shepherd is also the most perfect sheep. Jesus, the epitome of the Good Shepherd, is also the Lamb of God. And here, too, Joseph emulates his Son. Joseph’s key characteristic is his silence, which reveals his capacity to listen. At every decision-point in his life, Joseph listened to the voice of God before he acted – just as Jesus in yesterday’s Gospel told us that His sheep ought to do.

Jesus tells us that He came “that we might have life, and have it abundantly.” Psalm 23 gives us a picture of what that abundant life looks like: rest, refreshment, repose, overflowing abundance and blessing. But – at least on the surface – this is not the life Joseph lived. As this beautiful article points out, the emotions most strongly implied about Joseph in Scripture are his fear and anxiety. During his earthly life, Joseph suffered, both emotionally and physically. Following the voice of God did not mean for him a life of ease and lack of worry.

But herein is the great mystery. Jesus tells us in the Gospel that He is the “gate for the sheep.” If we “enter through Him, we will be saved.” What is this gate? It is indeed the gate of suffering, as Peter tells us in the second reading: we are called to suffer because “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.” We must pass through the suffering – through the dark valley – if we are to find our way to the blessing Christ promises.

If we try to find the easy way out – a way to climb out of the sheepfold over the wall, without passing through the gate of Christ, which is the gate of suffering – we are following thieves and robbers, who lead us not to life but to death and destruction. This is a truth so intuitive to the human experience that it has found its way into children’s stories: one need only think of Pinocchio being led astray by the Honest Fox, or Edmund Pevensie being led astray by the White Witch.

The task that faces us is the same task that faced St. Joseph. In moments of fear and worry, where we might be tempted to take the “easy way out” to avoid suffering and uncertainty, do we take a moment to listen carefully for the voice of our Shepherd and hear where He is calling us to go? And do we follow Him with trust and love and obedience, knowing that though the path may be dark and feel uncertain, if He is with us it will lead us to the rest we long for?

This trust can be terribly hard to hold on to. In moments when we feel that our grasp on the Lord’s hand is slipping, or when His voice sounds faint and distant – in these moments, let’s turn to St. Joseph, and ask that Jesus’s foster father – who followed his Son’s example both as sheep and as shepherd – guide and protect us back to the safety of our Lord’s care.

Pax et bonum,


Our educational philosophy is rooted in the conviction that human beings are made by God in His image, with a desire to seek and know the Truth. As Catholics we believe that this search finds its fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Our educational program is designed to enable students to learn in a manner that honors their God-given desire to become free and joyful members of a community of faithful learners striving for growth in wisdom.

Lumen scholars have the increasingly rare privilege of having frequent interactions with priests and religious. From weekly Mass, daily prayer, and regular access to reconciliation and Adoration, faith formation is the focal point of our school’s mission.

All photo credit to George Martell.