O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.
"Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame,decided to divorce her quietly." I suspect that most people gloss right over this passage at the beginning of Matthew's Gospel and today's reading. We know that Joseph is not going to divorce Mary, in the same way that we know that Abraham ultimately isn't going to sacrifice Isaac--so we gloss over the fact that Joseph, a righteous man who is unwilling to expose Mary to the possibility of being executed for adultery (since that would be the only plausible explanation for her pregnancy) decides to divorce her.
We could surmise from this that the Holy Family almost was a single parent family. We could also conclude that God fearing, righteous people sometimes divorce. But of course none of that comes to pass because Joseph is a spiritual man who pays attention to his dreams. And this is another important fact in the Gospel story--Joseph's revelation comes to him in a dream--not a full fledged vision but a dream. A vision of an angel in a dream probably would be quickly dismissed by most of us.
"Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.'"
So we are told that even Joseph had this intention when he had rationally looked at all the evidence, now God enters the picture albeit in a dream and says, "whoa Joseph! It is through the Holy Spirit."
There are a lot of events in life that are confusing, troubling to good people. If we are truly open to God as St. Joseph was we might discern God's hand in many events that seem at first to speak of God's absence. As we await His coming let us open ourselves to the possibility that He might be in our midst, even at this moment.
More from Michael Dubruiel:
Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass. He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist. You can read about it here.
How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist gives you nine concrete steps to help you join your own sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ as you:
- Serve: Obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist.
- Adore: Put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.
- Confess: Believe in God’s power to make up for your weaknesses.
- Respond" Answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the Body of Christ.
- Incline: Listen with your whole being to the Word of God.
- Fast: Bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist.
- Invite: Open yourself to an encounter with Jesus.
- Commune: Accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist.
- Evangelize :Take him and share the Lord with others.
Filled with true examples, solid prayer-helps, and sound advice, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist shows you how to properly balance the Mass as a holy banquet with the Mass as a holy sacrifice. With its references to Scripture, quotations from the writings and prayers of the saints, and practical aids for overcoming distractions one can encounter at Mass, this book guides readers to embrace the Mass as if they were attending the Last Supper itself.
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