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Matthew in Slow Motion 14

Joseph and Mary
The widower Joseph takes Mary to his home, with his son (from his previous marriage) leading the way.

When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25)

ιεγερθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕπνου, ἐποίησεν ὡς προσέταξεν αὐτῷ ὁ ἄγγελος Κυρίου, καὶ παρέλαβεν τὴν γυναῖκα αὑτοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἐγίνωσκεν αὐτὴν, ἕως οὗ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὑτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐκάλεσεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν

Joseph completes the marriage rites by taking Mary into his home.

He “had no marital relations with her” – literally “he was not knowing her”. Some would see ritual purity being maintained by Joseph and Mary during her pregnancy by not having sex.

RCs and those who hold to Mary’s perpetual virginity will read “until” differently to those who see this simply as Mary and Joseph delaying sex until after Jesus is born.

ἐκάλεσεν could be “she called” or “he called” – the latter is used in English because of the previous context.

Jesus is a common name at the time.

In the verse preceding this section, the prophecy has “they shall name him Emmanuel” (καλέσουσιν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἐμμανουὴλ). They, in fact without pausing for explanation, do not call him “Emmanuel” but “Jesus” (as per the earlier part of Joseph’s dream).

Image: 14th Century mosaic in Chora Church (Istanbul). Whatever you make of the legends and pictures illustrated there, the title Chora (Ἐκκλησία τοῦ Ἁγίου Σωτῆρος ἐν τῇ Χώρᾳ) provides wonderful reflections. The mosaics are of Christ as the Land of the Living (ἡ Χώρα τῶν ζώντων) and Mary is the Container of the Uncontainable (ἡ Χώρα τοῦ Ἀχωρήτου). Image source.

This is the fourteenth post in a series – you can begin here:
Matthew in Slow Motion 1
Matthew in Slow Motion 2
Matthew in Slow Motion 3
Matthew in Slow Motion 4
Matthew in Slow Motion 5
Matthew in Slow Motion 6
Matthew in Slow Motion 7
Matthew in Slow Motion 8
Matthew in Slow Motion 9
Matthew in Slow Motion 10
Matthew in Slow Motion 11
Matthew in Slow Motion 12
Matthew in Slow Motion 13

As this year the Sunday Gospel readings’ focus is on St Matthew’s Gospel, I thought I’d start some of my personal study and Lectio Divina with that Gospel. [NB. I am using ‘Matthew’ as a convenient term for the author of the first Gospel in the order of the Christian canon].

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2 Responses to Matthew in Slow Motion 14

  1. Emmanuel = God with us
    Joshua = God save us

    Perhaps the writer of Mathew thought that God with us and God save us was close enough to say the Isaiah prophecy was accomplished. Since they were so involved with showing Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy.

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