December 19, 2016

‘He took his wife to his home’ is how today’s gospel ends (Mt. 1.18-24) and what a wealth of meaning is found in these few short words. By taking Mary to his home, Joseph took under his roof the child she was carrying. He took into his home the Christ child, the Messiah, the Son of God. Yes, he had the assurance of the angelic message mediated through a dream, but he must have been bewildered by what was happening. How could what was happening fit within conventional understanding? Yet reaching deep within himself, Joseph found the resources to stand alongside Mary.  Perhaps it was a sense of duty as well as some inner intuition.  The gospel today hints at reluctance, because it takes the dream to overcome his doubts. By staying with a difficult situation, Joseph found himself guardian to Mary and the holy child. It makes me think of the ancient Celtic saying, ‘The lark says in her song, Often, often, often, goes Christ in the stranger’s guise.’ It is a reminder of how often we are cal...

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