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.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
"Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary into your home", a direct assurance and "he took his wife into his home", a concrete commitment. God understands our sensitivities and it is enough to say everything in a dream and Joseph will do it. It should be noted that Mary was totally unaware of everything that happened to Joseph. We don't have to understand everything, including the way God works in our lives. He will do it in His own way, in His own time.
So let us not expect all the details to be given, revealed and received. It is enough that we feel that God is with us and that we know to trust in His goodness and generosity. The moment we say Yes to Him, like Mary, God will reveal His plan to us, little by little, in its totality. Let us contemplate Joseph, his silence and discretion. Let us imitate him.
Action of the day: Learn to believe in God.
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home”
Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, the liturgy of the Word invites us to think of the wonderful example St. Joseph gives us. He was extremely sensitive towards Mary, his betrothed.
There is no doubt that both were excellent people, in love with each other like no other couple. However, it is plain to see that the Almighty wanted their love to go through some very demanding circumstances.
Saint John Paul II wrote: “Christianity is a surprise from a God who has taken sides with his creature”. As a matter of fact, He has taken the initiative: To come to this world He has not waited for us to deserve it. He proposes His initiative; He does not impose it upon us: It is as though God asked us for “permission”. To Mary He proposed —never imposed anything! — the vocation of being the Mother of God: “He, who had the power to create everything from nothing, had refused to rebuild what had been desecrated if Mary had not agreed to it” (Saint Anselm).
But God, not only is asking us for permission, He also wants us to take part in His plans, to make a heroic contribution. And so it was for Mary and Joseph. In fact the Christ-child needed parents. Even more so: He needed his parent's heroism, for they had to go to extremes to defend the life of the “little Redeemer”.
What is really beautiful is that Mary revealed only a few details of her childbearing: Such an important fact is reported in just two verses (cf. Lk 2:6-7). On the other hand, she was more explicit when speaking of Joseph's thoughtfulness towards her. The fact was that “before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:19), and in order not to risk discrediting her, he would have preferred to disappear discretely and to renounce her love (something that was socially unfavorable to him). Thus, before the law of charity had been proclaimed, Saint Joseph was already practicing it: Mary (and his loving attentions with her) was his law.