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Mary and Joseph instill loyalty


By Stephen A. Curry

This month, I’m looking at the family of Jesus. Jesus was immersed in the human experience. Most of what we know of Christ occurs after His baptism by John when He was about 30 years old. But we know from Matthew 13 that he had four brothers and at least two sisters. We know his parents were Mary and Joseph.

Joseph seems to disappear from the Gospel narrative before Jesus began His ministry. In the Christmas narratives found in Luke and Matthew, Joseph is described as a good and righteous man. He was willing to sacrifice his own happiness to protect the woman he loved from disgrace by offering her a discreet divorce when she was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit. He was faithful in his religious duties, bringing his Son to the temple on the 40th day as required by the Torah and bringing his family each year to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. He was, by trade, a carpenter (although the word used suggests more of a builder or general contractor). And he saw to it that his sons received a good education, learning to read and write and instilling in them faith in the God of Israel.

Mary came from a prominent family. Her cousin, Elizabeth, was married to a temple priest, one of the few whose duties included service in the Holy of Holies. Through Mary, Jesus was related to John the Baptist. Mary was with Jesus through His ministry and even suffered the great pain of seeing her Son unjustly executed by crucifixion.

Mary and Joseph instilled in their family a loyalty to each other. They had their misunderstandings Mark 3:20-34 tells of how his family tried to stop Jesus’ ministry upon hearing rumors Jesus was crazy but, even then, it was out of compassion that they came to take charge of Him instead of simply disowning Him. The loyalty Mary and Joseph instilled is more apparent in Christ’s brothers, James and Jude, as they became leaders in the Christian movement following the Resurrection.

Emmanuel, God with us, was truly God among us. God touched every aspect of our lives to redeem every aspect of our lives. It was necessary for our salvation that Jesus became truly human in order that every part of us may be saved. That includes a mother, a father, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. All of our relationships are made holy by the One who came to sanctify us and prepare us to live in love with the Father of us all.

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