Living the Gospel – December 22, 2019

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“Taking God’s Path”

Growing up as an obedient Jew, Joseph must have known about Isaiah’s prophecy of the virgin birth, so when he is told in a dream that he is to have an integral role in pulling this whole thing together, he must have been, at the very least surprised, and most likely petrified. Joseph, in his obedience to God’s will, had to do some quick comprehension work: This baby would not be the warrior, David-like king they were expecting to save them from Rome’s oppression. God had something different in mind this time, something much bigger. Joseph was not going to have exactly the sort of life he was expecting; he had just agreed to protect and provide for…God.

Also, despite being faithful to the law, according to the Gospel, Joseph circumvented the rules and accepted Mary as his wife – he took God’s path rather than the path established by the powers to be. This was a necessary and humane breach, much like the “offenses” committed by volunteers along the U.S. – Mexico border who leave water for migrants or who provide rides to health clinics for ill migrants. These folks, often connected to faith-based programs, are practicing Christianity at its most basic, and sadly they are oftentimes arrested for it. What is our role as Christians in caring for these siblings of ours? What does the ”law” tell us to do? What do we hear when we hear God’s voice? God is found on the faces of those who cross borders, who walk this earth with us, and who suffer mightily for a life of dignity. Will we have the compassion and vulnerability to accept this and respond?

Judy Coode – Project coordinator for the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative at Pax Christi International When I read this reflection from the December issue of “Give us This Day”, I knew that nothing I could write would express my feelings better. We are all the loved children of God; we all have the same Father and like St. Joseph we have the opportunity to take God’s Path of Mercy and Compassion. Jesus himself said that “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren; you do it to me.”

Sylvia Bates