In the final days of December, our Gospel readings hinted at the critical issues that Joseph and Mary faced as Mary’s pregnancy became known. The couple was not married yet. Mary hadn’t yet moved to live together with Joseph in his home. So their situation was shameful. Everyone in the small town of Nazareth would come to hear about it, and their families would have to deal with the cultural norm that demanded a divorce.
But then this big crisis was avoided because Joseph was able to change his mind about Mary. After hearing assuring words of a messenger from God, Joseph brought Mary into his home.
At this writing, I know a couple of senior persons who were looking to some peace and quiet in their old age, but who changed their minds and opened their home to a troubled grandchild. I also know heads of households who turned down job promotions because they knew that these would take them away from their families too much. I’m also, personally, very proud that my nephew, who is a teacher, resisted pressure to change the grades of students whose parents were donors to the college.
There is something very encouraging about these examples. We often feel helpless when we look at the problems in our society and world. We wonder how we can change things. But what we see in these examples is that we can change the world beginning where we are. We can resolve to take actions on the basis of what is merciful and just at our level, with the things God has placed in our hands.
At the beginning of this new year, we all hope and pray for a world that is more just and free from war, fear, and violence. But what we are asked to do is not the impossible. We can all begin right where we are, resolving to act at our own level with the values of God’s realm of justice and mercy.
With my best wishes for God’s blessings of peace and joy in the New Year,
Rev. Ana Langerak