by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 1: 18-25
Today's reading refers to the revelation to St. Joseph as the portion of the reading is quite familiar to each and everyone of us. In verse 18 we read "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when his mother was espoused to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit". St. Matthew does not leave any loopholes to doubt the incarnation from the virgin. He has succeeded in establishing the truth that the son of St. Mary is from God and the new born is God Himself. Those who believe that the Holy Bible is the word of God cannot deny the incarnation of the word of God from eternal virgin St. Mary. No one could deny the importance and highest honor held by St. Mary from whom the word of God took the flesh. The greatness of St. Joseph, which is as deep and as wide as the ocean, is limited to a single sentence saying that he was just. It is needless to mention that St. Joseph's qualities and nobilities could not be explained in chapters or books. As in the case of our Lord, many explanations are not given in the case of St. Joseph also by the writers of the Holy book.
When St. Joseph came to know that St. Mary was carrying a baby in her womb he desired to send her away privately with the intention not to make her a public example. He was aware of the instruction of his religion, to which he was trustworthy, and he was aware of the teaching in Deuteronomy 24:1. When St. Joseph was in deep thoughts of sending away St. Mary privately, God interfered there and sent the Angel to convey His message. The angel informed him that the baby born in St. Mary is of the Holy Spirit. Let us listen to St. Matthew's version as given in verse 20. "Joseph thou son of David fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." Joseph could have either doubted the angel or hesitated him totally. But St. Joseph took the words of the Angel as that of God. There is no doubt about the good understanding of St. Joseph.
Let us think what is the significance of Angels words "thou son of David". St. Joseph was also in the expectation of the savior from the tribe of King David. Upon hearing the words of the Angel, St. Joseph was humbling himself before God Almighty. He was quite sure of the consequences that might arise soon. He was sure that the public might accuse him to be the father of the child born in the virgin without a worldly father. He made up his mind to suffer any sort of allegations or abuses on the basis of the savior. In fact St, Joseph was undertaking the right of being the step father of the Savior of the entire mankind and the universe. He was aware of his own link with the family of king David from which all the Israelites were expecting a King or the Savior. St. Matthew's gospel which was aimed to convince that Lord Jesus belonged to the tribe of David starts like this : "The book of generation of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham." (Chapter 1:1).
Verse 21 is very important and unique. "And she shall bring forth a son and thou shall call his name Jesus, means Savior (He will save his people from their sins)". See how great honor is granted to St. Joseph by God Almighty. The same position and responsibility could have been vested with some one else. But God chose St. Joseph to name our Lord and Savior. God was sure what is Joseph and what he would be. It was a real honor and recognition for the Saint.
The Holy Church has great concern for St. Joseph who had sacrificed his own life for the protection and care of our Lord and His blessed mother especially during the infancy period of our lord. The Holy Church honor him as the father of all unknown saints. In effect St. Joseph and his mission are unknown to many of us, We are obliged to honor him more than what we do at the moment. The Holy Church has to honor him by starting new spiritual organizations and movements in his precious name.
See verses 22-23. "Now all that was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord hy the Prophet ays "Behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel which means God is with us". The old Testament name Emmanuel and the New Testament name 'Jesus' are the same, as and when God came to us to save us from the slavery of sins He is with us. Now let us think whether our Lord and Savkor is with us? Are we living with Him? If not our life is meaningless.
Verse 25 establishes that St. Joseph only named the infant born to St. Mary as Jesus. Let the continued intercession of St. Joseph be a blessing for us all. May God bless us all.
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