19 December 2020
19 Dec 2020

“The unexpected happened: God approached him”


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And Joseph? Matthew presents him, literally, as “her man.” However, aware of the state of his betrothed, but oblivious to God’s ways, he chose to “let her go.” But his decision plunged him into an inner conflict. The “just” man was caught between the ruthless justice he knew and what he really wanted. He himself seemed unhappy with what he just decided.

In fact, some of the words the evangelist uses to identify what Joseph intended to do are dangerously close to those used to describe the actions of Herod, when he acts “in secret” against the newborn King of the Jews (cf. Mt 2,7) and Pilate, “letting go” of the criminal and condemning the truly righteous one, the same child king whom Herod so feared (cf. Mt 27,11.19.26).

Joseph does not stop thinking about what was happening, as if he wanted to solve everything differently. Precisely, “while he was considering these things”, the unexpected happened: God approached him. He did it at the moment when the human condition opens without caution to the unpredictability of dreams. Through the angel, God confirmed Joseph’s belonging to his people. He reminded him that he is the son of David, not of the severe Law, nor of fear. And additionally in the midst of that nation God asks him to renew his bond with Mary, the woman docile to the Spirit.

(From the Letter for Christmas 2020)

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