The scriptural passages read to-day have in mind the Eastern origin of the titular patrons of the Basilica, and tell us, therefore, of the Syrian Naaman, who, rejecting the grander rivers of Damascus, was cleansed from his leprosy in the lesser waters of the Jordan. Catechumen desiring to be healed from the leprosy of infidelity and original sin, must humble themselves, and, abandoning the rivers of Damascus- that is, the attractions if their former worldly life- must wash themselves clean in the pure waters of holy baptism.
The Church always honours St. Joseph with Mary and Jesus, especially during the Christmas solemnities. This day’s Gospel is indeed that of December 24th. A Coptic calendar tells us that St. Joseph was liturgically honoured in a special way on July 20th, from the eight century. At the end of the fifteenth century his feast was kept on March 19th and in 1621 Gregory XV extended it to the whole Church. In 1870 Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph protector of the universal Church.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, a saving virtue to our fast: that the chastisement of the flesh, which we have taken
Pope Francis to Consecrate Russia and Ukraine Mar. 18, 2022: Consecration of Russia, Zelenskyy vs. Putin, German Bishops – YouTube
The Church, as though she feared that the very splendour of her liturgy might lead simple folk into thinking that Christianity consisted merely in holding functions and receiving the sacraments, insists continually in her Lenten formulas that we should by our good works, give reality to what is so sublimely expressed in the liturgy. In the liturgy the theme is God’s repeated appeal through His prophets to an unrepentant people.