A Closer Look At Joseph’s Response To Mary’s Pregnancy

Jared Staudt

During the Christmas season, our thoughts turn naturally to the Holy Family: the birth of Jesus, the feast of the Holy Family, the solemnity of Mary’s motherhood, and the Epiphany. The foundation of Christmas starts nine months earlier with Mary’s fiat. Joseph has his fiat as well, recorded in Matthew’s Gospel. Some have even called it the Annunciation to Joseph.

Joseph’s Annunciation may be more difficult to decipher than we realize. The common assumption, and one that we hear repeated often from the pulpit, holds that Joseph thought Mary had committed adultery. Think about that for a second. Joseph knew Mary well. Do you really think that Joseph thought his sinless bride (he knew her sinlessness not as dogma, but as lived experience) had committed adultery?

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