Joseph

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Joseph, “upright man” according to the Bible (Mt 1, 19) is the patron of workers according to the Christian tradition. By his humble submission to the divine plan and his self-abnegation, he has been an indispensable element to the advent of the Messiah. His example continues to inspire us today…

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Saint Ephrem’s meditation

“Joseph has loved his Son as a child,
He has served him as a God,
He has rejoiced in him as one rejoices in a fair man,
He has respected him as a friend.
O miracle of the miracles!
Joseph says:
“Who gives me to have for son
The Son of the very High?
I have doubted his mother,
And I have thought of leaving her.
I have not thought that in her womb
There was an immense Treasury
Who has enriched my unworthiness from the beginning.
David, the king of my tribe, has carried the crown.
As for me, I was greatly despised
Because I was only a carpenter, not a king.
But the crown has returned to me
Because I have carried in my arms
the King of the creation.”

The Gospel of Matthew chapter 1 verse 18 to chapter 2 verse 23

Mt 1, 18-19: This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being an upright man and wanting to spare her disgrace, decided to divorce her informally.

Joseph’s reaction was justifiable. Indeed, in the Jewish mentality of the time, Mary’s situation, condemned by the Torah, was scandalous all the more for an honourable man as Joseph. However, knowing the purity of Mary’s heart and her honesty, Joseph, overtaken by the events, thus decided to reject her noiselessly, trying to protect her, to avoid her stoning because he was a just man. Joseph exercised in this way a personal judgment, nevertheless against the Jewish law, joining the word of the Christ in Luke 12, 57: “Why not judge for yourselves what is upright??”

Mt 1, 20-22: “He had made up his mind to do this when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in dream and said, Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins”

The Angel seeing Joseph disturbed did not reproach him and reassured him knowing the purity of his heart. Joseph’s confusion is comparable to that of Mary in Lk 1, 29. The Angel confirmed that Mary was his legitimate wife what implies that he had been chosen to be her husband. Thanks to this dream, Joseph learns his role of legal Father and husband: you will name him Jesus.

Mt 1, 24-25: When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home; 25he had not had intercourse with her when she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus.

Joseph showed himself docile and obedient to the will of the Lord because the Angel had come to confirm him Mary’s words. This dream has brought Mary and Joseph together and has created a mutual confidence which united them to face the future events. From this moment, Joseph has assumed his role of father and legitimate husband. By submitting himself to the divine choice, Joseph thus has given up his possible projects of father, family and husband by showing self-abnegation, humility and courage.

Mt 2, 13-15: After they had left, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said “Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herods intends to search for the child and do away with him.” So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Mt 2, 20-23: “Get up. Take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.” So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth.

Joseph showed himself obedient and docile in spite of the difficulty of his mission. Joseph had the role of protecting Mary and her child. Furthermore, here it also appeared the narrow divine-human collaboration between Joseph and the Angel.

The Gospel of Luke chapter 2 verse 46 to 48

Lc 2, 46-48: It happened that, three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, “My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you”.

These verses show to what extent Joseph has accomplished his mission of father and thus of protector: Joseph’s “worried” attitude put first his consciousness of being responsible for this child.

Posté le 25 Jan 2007 | Tags : |

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