Although each of the five stories that St Matthew tells in the beginning of his Gospel about the birth of Jesus ends with a statement such as “this occurred so that words spoken by the prophet may be fulfilled,” the final line of the Gospel tonight, that Jesus “will be called a Nazarene” does not actually occur anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures; the town of Nazareth (or Nazara or Nazaret) is likewise not found anywhere in the Old Testament. Which present scholars across the centuries with a dilemma. Some have suggested that Matthew has access to a prophetic book or writing which did not actually get included in the canon of the Christian scriptures – a canon that was not settled at the time of the writing of the Gospels. Nevertheless, it is clear that Matthew saw in the birth of Jesus this powerful sign of the fulfillment of the scriptures, and there is something about the person of Joseph that particularly captures him. Even though the Gospels record no words that Joseph spoke, there is enough spoken about him to create at least a partial character study of this righteous and just man of God, who became the adopted father of Jesus and the protector of the holy family.
Recorded at St Paul’s (7’00”)
Feast of the Holy Family, Year A.