This is how Jesus Christ was born: Mary his mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to disgrace her.
While he was pondering over this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a son. You shall call him ‘Jesus’ for he will save his people from their sins.”
All this happened in order to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and he will be called Emmanuel, which means: God-with-us. When Joseph awoke, he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do, and he took his wife to his home. He did not have any marital relations with her. When she gave birth to a son, Joseph gave him the name Jesus.
Traditional homilies tend to accept the fact that Joseph suspected Mary’s fidelity to him. This prompted Joseph accordingly to contemplate divorcing his betrothed quietly to spare her from possible death as prescribed by the Law. But few speak of the possibility that Joseph knew of the mysterious circumstances surrounding Mary’s pregnancy. And being a simple God-fearing Jew, he thought himself not worthy of protecting the Son of God as an earthly father. This was beyond his competence. He decided to give way. And so God has to step in and confirm that indeed Mary is pregnant according to the plan of God. And he will name the child to signify his earthly fatherhood. Obedient and trusting, Joseph, like Mary, obeyed God faithfully.
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