In our gospel today Matthew 1: 18-21, Joseph learns that his betrothed Mary was “with child”, before they lived together. He did not yet know she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Even though he could have legally had her stoned to death, he didn’t. He wanted to spare her life and divorce her quietly.
Joseph showed incredible love and mercy to Mary in what had to have been an unbelievably heartbreaking time for him.
It is after he made known his intention to divorce her quietly, that the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, and that the child in her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Joseph could have easily acted out of anger for this apparent betrayal by Mary, only to find out later that God’s hand was in all of this, and she was doing his will. Have we ever jumped to conclusions and reacted quickly out of anger without taking the time to show love and mercy, only to find out later that the situation isn’t what it seems?
In this year of St. Joseph, I think about the role model he is for us. Let our first reaction to a difficult situation be to show love and mercy, and take it to prayer before we respond. Joseph would want us to follow his example and give people the benefit of the doubt before we give them an accusation.
De Colores, Deacon Kevin