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.”
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.
I sometimes wonder what kind of relationship Joseph had with Jesus. For example, when his parents find him in the Jerusalem temple, it is his mother who reprimands him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” I guess I would have expected Joseph to have a few firm words with Jesus, but I get the impression that Joseph was a strong but silent man. He raised Jesus by the example of his life and not by his words. He taught him by example to play fair, to tell the truth, to love and be loved.
Joseph taught Jesus by his example to be a Jewish man, to work conscientiously and pay attention to the need of others and not be afraid of the poor. Do I model in my daily behavior a person coming to maturity and living the Gospel values in my dealings with others?
—Fr. Jim Riley, S.J. serves as assistant to the Jesuit superior at Colombiere Center, Clarkston, MI.
God of mercy,
free your Church from sinfulness
and protect it from all evil.
Guide us, for we cannot be saved without you.
—adapted from the Roman Sacramentary