From a Creighton Student's Perspective
March 15th, 2008
Senior, Theology Major (Pre-Med)
Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Today is the feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary and father of Jesus. Wow, what big roles to fill! Joseph doesn’t get much face time throughout the Bible, so we’re left to fill in the blanks with our imagination. The one thing we do get is a genealogy of Joseph’s family. The first and second readings seem to lay the groundwork for Joseph’s story. We hear the stories of some of the great founders of Israel, King David and Abraham. In the psalm, we sing about the greatness of the sons of David, and this foreshadows the message in the gospel. In the (first version) of the gospel, the angel refers to Joseph as the ‘son of David.’ By emphasizing the connection between Joseph, Abraham, and David, the readings provide us with some clues about Joseph’s character.
That character is revealed even more in the gospels. On this, Joseph’s feast day, there’s really only one story about him. But what a story it is! Can you imagine being in his position? Your wife is pregnant, but she says that she hasn’t slept with anyone else. Yeah right, you think. How else would you be pregnant?!? You decide to leave her, a decision probably supported by your family. I imagine Joseph’s mother was pretty upset with her daughter-in-law.
Then an angel comes to you in the middle of the night and tells you to remain faithful to your wife. Now, I find it hard to believe that Joseph got up in the morning and immediately went to find Mary and welcome her back. I imagine Joseph tossed and turned a lot that night, weighing the weight of the angel’s words. What do I do? he must have asked himself. The facts are pretty clear. But what about this angel? Do I trust the angel’s words?
In the end, Joseph forgives Mary, but I imagine there was always a little uncertainty deep down. After all, Joseph was human just like the rest of us. His doubts and fears would have been the same as many of ours. In the end, he chooses to take a giant leap in faith and face possible criticism and ridicule in order to listen to the word of God. I think this story reveals much about Joseph’s character and that we can all take the time to read between the lines and learn from his example.
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