Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
Today is Tuesday the 19th of March, the feast of St Joseph, in the second week of Lent.
The community of Taizé sing, Kristus din Ande: 'Jesus your Spirit in us is a wellspring of everlasting life.'
Today’s reading is the Gospel of Matthew.
There is something quietly courageous about Joseph. In the culture of his time he seems to be in an impossible situation, but acts with immense integrity and compassion. He is faced with a life-changing question: an immense responsibility… and then feels the presence of God, in some way very close to him, saying such familiar words: Do not be afraid… ‘Do not be afraid’. this message always seems to be one of the signatures that God is close to us. Have you sensed that – God in some way saying ‘Do not be afraid’ to you – in your own life-experience?
The imagery of Joseph’s dreams is partly a way of describing his own gradual recognition of God’s good spirit consistently at work in his life. He learnt to listen to his dreams, so that when it came to making big decisions he knew from sheer experience what to trust, even in difficult times. Can you sense a pattern of good moments in your own life – not necessarily in actual dreams, but moments when you really felt you could trust that you were being led in the right direction or being drawn into a good decision, even if it was a difficult time?
As you listen to the reading again, put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. Imagine what it was like for him. How he felt. Notice his faithfulness, his desire to do the right thing, his readiness to listen to God, his quiet courage…
Why not allow yourself to dream for a moment or two of all your hopes… of all the people you would want to keep safe… of any situations in which you would be glad of God’s encouragement and reassurance.