Friday, December 21, 2012

A Just Man

Tuesday's gospel reading went as follows:
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. Matthew 1:18-24
Joseph "was a righteous man".   He had every reason to divorce Mary publicly and shame her.  He must have been quite hurt to find out she was pregnant, knowing the baby was not his.  But Joseph was a just man, and rather than listen to his hurt feelings, he decided to divorce her privately.  But what made him a just man, also made him in tune to the truth.  He knew the truth when he heard it.  When he heard the Angel's message, he believed it.  He knew Mary, he must have known how pure and holy she was, he would have seen the truth of the angel's words.  He may not have understood everything, but he went ahead and took Mary into his home as his wife and he brought up her son as his own.  I am sure he never regretted it.

Pray for us, St Joseph, that we might know truth when we encounter it, as you did, and that we might put aside feelings of hurt, rejection, sorrow and betrayal in order to avoid revenge and to do what is right.  May we remain open to the word and the will of God.  Amen.