Sunday Readings: Isaiah 7.10-14; Romans 1.1-7, Matthew 1.18-24
This is how the birth of Jesus came about. When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, an upright man unwilling too expose her to the law, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when suddenly the angel of the Lord appear in a dream (Matthew 1.18-20).
Joseph is an upright, law-keeping man. Yet when he finds Mary with a child not his own, he knows he can bring the full force of the law upon her, but he makes a compassionate judgment instead. The gospel also tells us Joseph sleeps on his decision. Joseph opens his unconscious self to nourishing rest; he opens himself to the nonrational, spiritual world. He entrusts himself to Holy Mystery in going to sleep, and in sleep Joseph dreams the future of the child.
In our own lives we have to make the journey Joseph makes from the law and its requirements to compassionate judgments and action. This is conscience. Joseph’s story calls us to listen to the Spirit of God that lives within us in the deepest reaches of our psyches and never lets up on us, waking or sleeping, until we bring to life in our relationships what only we can do. Each of us is called like Joseph to dream a future for the children of promise among us today.
Who are children of promise in your life? What journeys of conscience have you made? What did you learn on the journey?
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