Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
(Jeremiah 23:5-8; Matthew 1:18-25)
An old priest was describing his father. He said the man was the most honest person he had ever known. When asked if his father was religious, the priest responded, “Yes, he is the reason why I became a priest.” Joseph, introduced to us in the gospel today, is such a man.
Joseph has reason to make a public case against Mary. Not only does it seem that she has been unfaithful to him, but also Joseph would be able to keep the dowry he likely was given for Mary. But Joseph, being “a righteous man,” that is one who always follows God’s loving will, prefers to divorce her quietly. He is acting as if he just decided that the marriage wouldn’t work out. Thus, he saves Mary the humiliation of public inquiry into her pregnancy. Of course, the revelation by the angel provides Joseph reason to take Mary into his home despite her already having child.
In being born a human of Mary, the wife of Joseph, Jesus will provide us the grace to act like his righteous foster-father. He will teach us God’s ways and then die on the cross dispensing the Holy Spirit so that we may stay on that sometimes difficult road.