Sunday, December 19, 2010


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 conceive 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.

Looking at Joseph 2000 plus years later, we might think well of course he'd do the right thing by Mary and when he was guided by his dream follow up by trusting the angel's words to him about her. But he didn't know the ending that we know. His decision was made based on his relation with God and most likely with Mary. This is the thing about making decisions we don't always know the outcome.

Joseph could have done the easy thing; the morally acceptable and legally approved thing. Let Mary be shamed, probably stoned for adultery and get on with his life. But no, his intention was to act righteously with generosity and mercy. And after being visited by the angel in his dream his response was to do as the angel of the Lord told him.
He thought only to do the right thing. We don't know what this meant to Joseph. Yet his decisions, his actions and his treatment of Mary and Jesus have impacted believers throughout the ages. 

Joseph would probably not have been invited to the talk shows of his day, or wherever famous people of his age
were extolled. He was just a regular guy with a regular job trying to do the right thing and trying to be just and merciful. Not famous just essential.
Art by Sr. Richard Mehren, CSJ
These are the people we don't often hear about. Hopefully everyone has someone like this in their life. 
These men, women, youth and children who through grace and training act with integrity, justice and mercy.
Like Joseph they don't talk a whole lot but their actions say it all.

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