(Mt 1, 16; 18-21; 24a)
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
Joseph, obedient husband.
We begin this week with a celebration of the father of the holy family of Nazareth. And we will conclude with a celebration of the mother of the holy family.
Joseph was a pious Jew who followed the Law conscientiously. He obeyed the prescriptions of the Law even when it would be painful. When, therefore, he discovered that Mary, his betrothed wife was already pregnant before they could even live together, he knew that the Law mandated him to divorce Mary. He could only painfully conclude that there was somebody who had a greater right to Mary than himself. But he would do so quietly for he loved Mary whom he did not want to be disgraced or even be stoned to death for the presumed sin of adultery.
An angel of God appears to Joseph in a dream, however, revealing to him to continue his marriage with Mary for the child in her womb was not of man but of the Holy Spirit. Joseph the just man obeys. He had the faith of his fathers. Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob he believed that “nothing is impossible with God.” He obeyed!
We pray that like Joseph we may have the courage to obey God’s law even when it is difficult. Like Joseph we also pray that we may always have compassion in imposing the law. Most of all we pray that we may listen to our God who speaks to us in many ways, even in dreams.