Sunday After the Nativity

Galatians 1:11-19
Matthew 2:13-23

We deal with many things in the Gospel passage appointed for this Sunday after the Nativity. We first find the Holy Family still in Bethlehem. The Wise Men have come and gone, left their gifts and I am sure Joseph was trying to figure out what to do with his new family. The he has a dream to take the child and his mother and flee. He is to go to Egypt and remain there until the Lord sends for him to let him know it is safe to come back. You see Herod is out to get the child as he perceives that he is a threat to him and his kingdom. The Gospel says he arose and took the child and his mother and left.
What kind of faith must Joseph have had to be able to do this. Think about it. Your an old man (well old in those days) and you are engaged to this young beautiful girl from your village. You go away for a few days, and when you come back she has this fantastic story about how she got “in the family way”. You don’t believe her. Would you? This is an amazing tale and you are trying to deal with it all. So you are going to do the right thing and quietly send her away when in dream an angel comes to you and says not so fast this is all part of the plan. Mary is carrying a child of the Holy Spirit. Okay so that makes life better right. All cleared up we can get back to normal now. Now the Scriptures do not say what happened in the house of Joseph but I can only imagine. I mean God choose these two for a reason, but they still must have had a few good moments of discussion. To bad Dr. Phil was not around in those days!
Now you have to shlep your little family miles away to be counted and while there your wife goes into labor, or as much labor as Mary had anyway (read previous post on Mary’s labor pains) and you try and find her a place but the place is packed. So you find a cave and lay he down in the hay and she gives birth to a son. Okay pretty normal so far right? Then some strange guys show up and gives you gifts. Sorry to say at this moment I have the movie Life of Brian running in my head.
So they leave their gifts and you think this is pretty good after all it is Christmas! Then just when you think all is going to be okay, you have this dream and you have to move to a place you have never been and where you know no one. What does Joseph do? He takes his family and moves on. What faith this man must have had.
He had no reason to believe Mary. No one would have blamed him if he sent her away. Joseph gets short changed in the Scriptures but I think there is much we can learn from him. Joseph like any step parent, takes on a responsibility that is not his to begin with. He takes the child and makes him his own. Teaches him a trade, takes him to the temple, and teaches him how to be a man.
Tradition tells us that St. Joseph died when Jesus still young. Scripture does not mention this fact and after the finding of Jesus in the Temple we never hear of Joseph again. He fades into the background and does his job of raising Jesus to be the man he was. We owe a great debt of gratitude to St. Joseph, and for that matter all step parents, for doing the job that they do in some of the most difficult situations.
Faith is the moral of this story. The faith of St. Joseph. Let us pray that we have that kind of faith.
Happy New Year!
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