Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
March 19th, 2010

Elizabeth Furlong

School of Nursing
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Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessded Virgin Mary
2 Samuel 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16
Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29
Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22

I reflect on the Gospel of today and recognize there are many ways to respond to this – some of which come from my early Catholic education and socialization, some come from being now a woman in one’s younger older years, and, some come from a policy concern in the state of Nebraska, USA, as I type this reflection.  For those of you reading this Gospel in all corners of the world, I wonder how you were educated and socialized to hear and understand this Gospel.  How did your cultural history and values affect your hearing and understanding?  Do you live in a society and culture that is dominantly non-Christian or Christian?  Do you have a knowledge that at the time of Christ’s birth there were other religions in that time and place of the world that also valued the phenomenon of the importance of a virgin birth in their religious belief system?  When you read this Gospel, do you focus on the compassion of Joseph, i.e., he would divorce her quietly?  Or, do you think he was courageous to proceed with the marriage and risk community alienation?  Or, do you think about the courage of Mary?  Perhaps you think about your courage when asked to do something completely outside of your comfort zone?  Do you reflect on how you listen to the Spirit of God in your life? Do you read this story as a lineage story to help us understand the lineage of Christ?  There are many ways to question and reflect on this Gospel.
Mary was open to pregnancy and to the birth of Christ.  As a registered nurse concerned about pregnant women and their fetuses, this Gospel takes on poignancy these winter months in Nebraska.  Six thousand pregnant women, including about 1,000 undocumented immigrant women, face challenges if their health care will be continued to be paid for by Medicaid.  While an administrative change could have been made by the executive branch of state government, that did not happen and now the legislative branch of state government is addressing it.  This policy issue can be ‘framed’ in four ways – 1)health outcomes for the mother and fetus, 2)cost to the state, health providers, the involved families, the future education system, etc., 3)one’s stance on pro-life, and, 4)one’s stance on immigration.  The main reason against coverage of pre-natal care is an anti-immigration value by many.
If one values the openness of Mary to the Spirit of God and if one values the compassion and courage of Joseph in listening to the Spirit of God in how he acted toward Mary, what does Joseph’s behavior call us to do?  Today, March 19th, is the day that the church honors Joseph.  Who are the Joseph’s in Nebraska living his spirit?  Being open to the other?  Risking community alienation?

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