Let us turn now to the Scriptures to see how the drama of St. Joseph's life unfolds. Throughout the ages, the "Masters of Suspicion," as Bl. John Paul II names them, read the Annunciation to St. Joseph with the suspicion that no one, even St. Joseph, could have sufficient purity of heart to see the mystery of God's love in the unexpected pregnancy of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This presumption colors the interpretations of key biblical passages, supposing that St. Joseph saw Mary as an adulteress. Modern Scripture scholarship and the Doctors of the Church help us to reread these passages in the light of truth. The passage in question comes from St. Matthew's Gospel and we hear it each year on the Solemnity of St. Joseph: "Joseph, her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly." (Mt 1:19)
First, we need help with two Greek wordsâ€”namely the verb "deigmatizo", translated here as "expose to shame" and "apoluo" translated here as "divorce." While we cannot go into all the details, a valid re-translation of this passage is proposed by the Jesuit scripture scholar Fr. Ignace de la Potterie, "But Joseph, her spouse, who was a just man, and who did not wish to unveil (her mystery), resolved to secretly separate (himself) from her." (Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant, p. 39)
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