Monday, December 21, 2009
Advent 23 : Joseph
The kingdom of heaven comes close to Joseph, and by repenting – by changing his mind – he steps into the present presence of God’s future.
Joseph is told that the girl pledged to marry him is pregnant, and he is not the father. How does he feel? Cheated by her family? Betrayed by her? He has the right to complain, to bring the matter into the light, to demand compensation for a broken pledge, perhaps to demand that Mary is stoned to death. Even if he does not make that demand, the matter might be taken out of his hands.
Joseph is a righteous man, and he makes a righteous decision: not to demand his rights, but to walk away quietly, to carry the consequence of someone else’s actions. Though God has other plans, this is not a bad decision but a good one – one that vindicates God’s decision (if God’s decisions need vindicating) to choose this man to raise His Son.
But God knows Joseph’s character more intimately than Joseph does. This moment, this moment when he can choose to take Mary and her baby on as his own, is a moment that God can step into in order to bring light into the world.
Joseph repents, and steps forward into the unknown with God.
[Today’s Antiphon is O Oriens]