It is my prayer that all those who visit us on Christmas Day, especially those who do not frequent church, will be invigorated spiritually so that they fulfill their Sunday obligations for the rest of their lives. May you all have a happy and holy Christmas.
I am grateful to all who worked on and participated in our Santa’s Secret raffle. The parish received $4700.00 And the two winners are Elaine Niziolek (Apple Ipad) and Robert Yuro (Kindle Fire HD).
St. Joseph is often portrayed as an old man probably because no one thought that a young man could live with a woman his own age and not have sexual relations. At the time of Christ, however, rabbis taught that men should marry between 13-19 yrs of age. If Joseph was old, it would be scandalous. Also, Joseph would not appear to be Jesus’ natural father. Part of Joseph’s vocation was to protect Mary’s and Jesus’ reputation. At the time of the Annunciation, Joseph was betrothed to Mary. This was a formal contract that made a man and woman husband and wife, but they would not live together. Having relations during betrothal was considered conjugal infidelity or a form of adultery. When Mary is found with child, Joseph chooses to quietly divorce her: Why? There are two traditions.
In Western thought, Joseph may have thought Mary
committed adultery. In his hurt and confusion, Joseph must have agonized over what to do. If he envisioned adultery, a “just man” had two choices – have her put to death by the letter of the law or divorce her quietly.
In the Eastern tradition, Joseph revered the mystery of Mary’s motherhood and felt so unworthy of her. Joseph never questioned Mary’s integrity. She was so good and would never be unfaithful, so out of reverence, Joseph chose to divorce her.
Today’s gospel is also known as the Annunciation of Joseph. It parallels Mary’s annunciation in the Gospel of Luke. God intervenes through an angel. Joseph does God’s will and becomes the Messiah’s foster father.
Joseph, like Mary, is obedient to God’s will. Neither Mary nor Joseph were spared difficult trials in their lifetime. While Mary is first in veneration of the saints, Joseph and John the Baptist are second or third. Mary has a unique role in the Communion of Saints because she was made Mother of the Church at the foot of the Cross.
Joseph’s decision shows him to be very virtuous for such a young man. He serves as a model for us – especially for teenagers. His discovery of Mary’s pregnancy caused him emotional confusion and conflict, yet he made a just decision. Joseph faced the issue of Mary’s pregnancy without letting his emotions take charge of the situation. Joseph chooses with his head and not with his feelings. He chooses with his virtuous conscience. His decision served generously for an apparently unfaithful wife or an apparently unworthy spouse. When God’s will was made manifest after his struggle, he immediately obeyed God’s will for him. In a world where virginity and self-control of
teenagers is always doubted by health officials, St. Joseph stands as a heroic model and reminder that with God, nothing is impossible. The Christ Alive movement in Uganda promoted chastity and lowered the incidence of the HIV infection by 70%. Nothing is impossible with God.