Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Joseph was a righteous man: an honest man who followed the laws and precepts of God. Before his marriage to Mary, he found out that she was pregnant and knew that the child was not his. Knowing that Mary could be shunned from society or even stoned to death for committing adultery, Joseph decided to do the right thing and end the engagement quietly. He was judging the situation by human standards: the baby was not his, so Mary must have committed adultery.
During a dream, an angel of the Lord explained to Joseph that the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The angel further explained that the child should be named Jesus which means “God Saves.” Joseph was asked to trust God and believe that God can do marvelous and miraculous things. When Joseph awoke from the dream he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him by marrying Mary, taking her into his home, and naming Mary’s child Jesus.
Joseph was challenged to view the situation by God’s standards and not by human standards. Being a righteous and God-loving man, Joseph trusted that God was doing something special in Mary’s life and in his life. We can only imagine how this trust in God and emphasis on God’s standards helped nourish and form Jesus throughout his childhood years.
When have I been asked to trust that God is doing something special in my life?
—Br. John Moriconi, S.J., Provincial’s Secretary, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits.
Holy Joseph, give me your wisdom and grace today. Strengthen my relationships, especially those of my family. Amidst the confusion of our stressed-out world, center my life in the heart of Jesus. May I bring his love and grace to those I live with and love.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team, Chicago-Detroit Province