December 18, 2022

In religious terms we would call Joseph a faithful type of guy, observant in religious thought and practice.

The visit from the angel tests his faithfulness to God and to Mary.

He doesn’t let them down.
He was called to be the carer of Jesus and Mary and to find a new openness to the mystery of God.

A temptation of religion is to tie things down too much. The law in Joseph’s time was strict – if a woman was pregnant the man would cancel the betrothal, and she might be stoned to death! Joseph went beyond law to love and the mystery of God’s call. Good religion is open to the mystery of life, however life challenges us and calls us.
Some of the most open-minded people I have met have been very religious, and some of the most narrow-minded people have also been religious! Like good and bad medicine, there is good and bad in religion.

True religion is open to mystery. We need a church lit with the light of God, as Joseph was. His burden was lifted when he was open to God, to take Mary home as his wife, no matter what others might think.

This is the annunciation to Joseph – the word of God from the angel to Joseph in a dream. It opened him to a huge new mean­ing in life. We accept this word as a central part of our lives, and the next time we meet the word, it will be made flesh.

Picture your house, and all who live in it.

Imagine the light of Christ in each room and on all.

Lord, you are the word of God, who is made flesh,
have mercy on us.

Donal Neary S.J.