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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

St Joseph's Fiat

One of the questions in my mind is about the recounting of the lineage of Jesus via Joseph, his adoptive father. This creates difficulties for me because it seems to contradict St. Matthew's point that Jesus is the Son of God. Or suggests a difficulty reconciling the prophecy of Jesus being of the House of David with His Sonship. Because surely God could have arranged to have Jesus's lineage to the House of David go through Mary, right? And nevermind that I always thought that judeaism is passed on through the mother (which causes me other incidental questions about how the Jewish Kings were able to have gentile wives).

But I believe that this question could be cleared up for me simply once I read the proper exegis commentary. I wouldn't be surprised to learn of some fact about Jewish history or culture that puts everything into place for me. Perhaps some simple fact about a tradition of adoption that I don't know about, much as I didn't know about temple sacrifices in ancient Jerusalem or the "fourth cup" viz a viz Scott Hahn. Because the gospel writers knew their audience and their assumptions well, and apparently it made sense to them. You, dear Beloved, might share my difficulty as we don't have a tradition of adoption in Islam to refer to, plus that Mohammad's descendants are via his daughter, Fatima (although Syedship passes from the father).

But meditating on this recently brought me a startling realization and a greater appreciation for St. Joseph. For in the same way that Mary's fiat was necessary to bring Salvation to the world, Joseph's fiat was necessary too. Joseph's fiat was necessary that he would consent to marry Mary in a celibate marriage in order to make the prophecies concerning the Son of Man to come true.

I suppose if there is a Feast of St. Joseph's Fiat or something like that then I can congratulate myself on having reinvented the wheel.

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