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.”
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:“ Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
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
I can imagine myself in Joseph’s shoes… or maybe slippers, as he awakes, gets out of bed and considers what he just dreamed. First of all, was that just a dream or was it really the voice of an angel? More important, I already know what needs to be done. I am a compassionate guy and I am going to take care of this situation in a manner which does not draw undue attention to Mary’s indiscretion. It is the right thing, what society demands and what my religion requires. I must end this relationship now.
But what is this voice I am hearing? Why would I even consider doing anything but what I have already planned? Why is my heart not quite comfortable with the plan? This whole situation is too disappointing and too painful. I feel sorry for Mary, but what about me? What if this is God talking to me? What if this is God’s invitation to my special role in salvation history? I am just going to have to trust and jump in one direction or another. I will answer the simple question, “What does love require?”
—David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
O Sacred Lord of ancient Israel who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Mount Sinai: Come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free!—The Jesuit Prayer Team Please share the Good Word with your friends!