3rd Week of Advent (18th December, 2018)
First Reading: Jer 23: 5-8 (David’s righteous successor)
Gospel: Mt 1: 18-25 (She will bear a son)
The plan of God is always unique. His ways are not comprehensible by all. The scripture gives example of lives of person both who disposed themselves to the will of God and who were reluctant to understand his ways and plans. Those who yielded themselves to His will saw the promise of God fulfilled or were blessed by Him. There were also several people who gave themselves to the worldly pleasures and happiness disregarding His plan for them. Those who did as He willed were like Abraham, Moses, Noah, the Prophets etc. we also have other people like King David, Saul, Solomon etc. who went after the dictates of their mind. The result was the destruction and banishment.
Today the Gospel presents the account of Joseph the foster father of Jesus. It explains his disposition from the time He came to know the fact of Mary’s pregnancy as he remains ever docile to the plan of God. What we see in St. Joseph is that how one can change one’s human outlook to the divine. The Gospel describes him as a just and righteous person. Being such a person, all that he thought of doing was to keep away from being betrothed to Mary to be betrothed discreetly so that no blame would fall upon her or he would not have the burden of caring for her. Or else given the social mentality of the then period, Mary would have been stoned to death as we saw it about to happen in the case of woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:1-11). Here St. Joseph emerged as a noble and just man, not to blame her or condemn her but only to be away from her.
But in the following passages, there arises the divine aspect of St. Joseph. While contemplating to keep her away from him, he gets the divine message from the Angel on the cause of Mary’s pregnancy and the nature of the baby to be born along with the counsel to dispel any fear from his mind. Joseph believes in all messages told to him by the Angel as the Gospel says, “He did as he was commanded to do”. What he did was unlike any other man would do. He did so because he was docile to the spirit of the Lord.
As mentioned above, the Old Testament figures like Abraham, Moses, Noah etc. disposed themselves to do that which was not common among people then. They had never seen what was in store for them or what lied ahead of them. Yet they obeyed what God asked them to do which was indeed beyond any human strength. And we see St. Joseph also obeyed against the then thinking pattern of the society. He was blessed abundantly because he had both the grace as well as the courage to obey the Lord’s command as he valued them more than the social expectation or norm of the society. He then becomes an example for us how to move away from the trend of the society which may make us uncharitable, judgemental and law oriented. We need to muster our heart and mind to listen to God alone and be ever willing to do His will. Amen.