Friday, December 14, 2007
Oh, no, you didn't!
Christian Student Scientist said...
Dear Sister Mary Martha,
I feel strange correcting a nun on the most popular story in the Bible, but then again I'm not sure you are a nun. Anyways, Mary was engaged (betrothed) to Joseph, not married before receiving news of conception. However stronger engagement rules were those days, it was still not a marriage...
It gets worse:
I do wonder how you explain Mary's words "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"? To me that's pretty clear indication of where things are between Mary and Joseph.
Oh it is, is it? We're Catholics here. We don't go digging around in the Bible deciding what it means for ourselves.
Look, Mary was not an unwed mother. We're not having it, so you may as well throw in the towel.
In the first place, as many other readers have pointed out, marriage today and marriage back then are very different. The Mary family didn't rent out the Holiday Inn, pay the organist and spend a year's salary on a ring. They didn't even stand around and exchange "I Do's". The families got together and declared the couple a couple. Then there might be a party.
The party served two functions: to let everyone know the couple was married, since they didn't have the parish paper to announce things or cans tied to their cars or embossed cards, and to mingle the families, which was the main purpose of the marriage itself. Do you think they really cared all that much about who loved who? They didn't have time for that. They had to bake bread from scratch. They couldn't even go to the store for the ingredients. They had to make the ingredients from scratch. Love came later.
Here's what Matthew has to say: " Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily."
Notice: Joseph HER HUSBAND.
End of story. Matthew, the writer of the gospel said that, not me. Unless you'd like to argue with Matthew, I think that's a pretty clear indication of where things were between Mary and Joseph.
Here's how I explain the words of Mary to the Archangel Gabriel: that's not what she said. What she said was, "for I know not man." We've all had to suffer through the giggles of explaining to people what the Bible means by the word "know".
My question is, why would you want to make such a fuss to prove that Mary was an unwed mother? What's the deal there?
Go stand in the corner.