19 March 2007

I WOULD MARRY MARY BUT....

Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary
Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24

If I were to marry and if it were really possible, I would marry Mary. Yes, Mary, the daughter of Joaquin and Anne. I mean Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus. She has all the qualities I search for a woman I would love and would want to spend the rest of my life with. But I wonder, if I would want to be Joseph.

Joseph was a just man. Okay, fine with me. Joseph was a carpenter. Okay, fine with me. Joseph was a very quiet man. Okay, fine with me. I strive to be just. I do not mind working as a carpenter. I want to be a quiet man too. But Joseph was the husband of Mary, and I am not sure if I like to be him. If it were possible and if I could marry though, I would love to marry Mary.

I would immediately marry Mary but I would have second thoughts becoming Joseph. I am not sure if I would spare Mary the demands of the Law were I to find her with child prior to our marriage. I am not sure if I would believe a divine command – to take Mary as my wife – received in a dream. I am not sure if I would be at peace with God’s assurance that the child in Mary’s womb is actually His when God assures me about that while I am sleeping. I am not sure if I could bring up Jesus the way Joseph brought him up. I am not sure if I would not meddle with Jesus’ ministry when I see the people turning against Him and calling Him a lunatic. I am not sure if I want to be Joseph but I certainly wish I could marry Mary.

That is precisely the difference between Joseph and me. I surely want to be the husband of Mary but I surely am afraid to be the father of Jesus. When Joseph became the husband of Mary, he did not only take Mary in. He took Mary and Jesus in. Becoming the husband of Mary meant becoming the earthly father of Jesus too. Joseph did not become Jesus’ father because it was his seed that Mary carried in her womb but because in carrying Mary in his heart, he carried Jesus in his heart as well. If fatherhood is a man’s choice, Joseph’s fatherhood is twice the weight of the meaning of those words. When the truth behind Mary’s conception was revealed to him, Joseph chose to be marry Mary nonetheless and became Jesus’ earthly father as well.

Today, we celebrate Joseph’s marital status. But in view of his parental status, our celebration is not a mere feast but a solemnity. Joseph, the husband of Mary, is the foster-father of Jesus too. And that means more than giving a legal recognition to Jesus as his Son despite the fact that Jesus was not from his loins. It means that Joseph loved Jesus as if Jesus were his own. He chose to keep Jesus so that God may give Jesus to the world. May our choices in life be the same.

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