Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. (Mt 1, 19-21.24)
Joseph was a righteous man. As the reading presents, he was righteous because he
· Was unwilling to expose her to shame
· Listened to God through the angel in a vision
· Took his wife into his home
Listening to God is an essential element for the change of heart.
Joseph was like any other man but different from most of them. Most of the people put others to shame when they come to know the mistakes / failures of the others. Mistakes of the others are often blown out of proportion and made public and this in return exposes to shame.
Mistakes / failures and shame divide people. One is put against the other or one turns against the other. Division or separation is the natural outcome when we look at the events humanly.
Listening to God (looking at an event in God’s perspective) changes the event into an element in God’s plan. Every event has some purpose in God’s plan.
Listening to God will bring people together. God is for an all inclusive living.
Righteousness of Joseph is in listening to God and putting into practice the demands of God: UNITY.
I do not accept testimony from a human being,… But I have testimony greater than John's. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf… You search the scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life. "I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? (Jn 5,34-44)
Testimonies and praises are part of life for man. People offer testimonies and long for praises from one another. Often, our piety (prayers, almsgiving, fasting) is for men to see. We perform them in public so that people who see them will bear witness and also praise us for the life of piety. That is why Jesus has said that, when we pray we should do it in private and when we give alms, left hand should not know what the right hand is doing.
Jesus says that he does not accept testimony from human being (v.34) and he does not accept human praises (v.41). Jesus never performs for spectators. Many a times his miracles are done in private and at times people do not know who performed the miracle (Jn 5,13).
He also says that the works given by the Father which he performs are the testimonies and he seeks the praise that comes from the only God. Jesus is immersed in God and God has taken him over totally that whatever he does or says is from God and they are Godly. That is why he could say that “I came in the name of the Father”.
People who perform things for one another and worried about receiving testimonies form one another can not receive persons who come in the name of God: “He came to his own and his own received him not”.