Friday, December 23, 2011

Bad homilies and the Holy Family


One of the most annoying things about going to Mass in December is listening to homilies that insult St. Joseph. He was not a starry eyed ninny. He did not just load Mary on to a donkey and drift out to Bethlehem. They probably traveled in a caravan with other kinfolk from their village. It's possible, some theologians believe, that knowing that the messiah was supposed to come from Bethlehem that Mary and Joseph had even decided that they would move there permanantly.

St. Jospeh did not come to Bethlehem to beg. He wasn't running from Nazareth. He came to pay his taxes. He was not a homeless man. Mary was not an unwed mother. I'm so sick of that kind of talk. He also, being a skilled artisan had pretty good prospects for finding a job if he and Mary had decided to stay in Bethlehem.  There was a huge government project going on not too far away. Vile King Herod was building himself  a tomb and  needed lots of carpenters.  Please, please no more hip, relevant homilies making the Holy Family stand ins for whatever cause is in vouge at the time.

6 comments:

Anita Moore said...

The best one I ever heard from the pulpit was that Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth in order to avoid being lynched for being an unwed mother. THAT must be why they made the Visitation the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary!

Such is the fruit of modernism in our time.

Douglas Naaden said...

Yeah, the whole "unwed mother" thing gets so annoying. How was Joseph going to divorce her if she was unwed?

Paul Melody said...

Actually Joseph was an unskilled laborer, not a skilled carpenter (there was no big demand for carpenters in Judea), he essentially worked with his hands. When you think about it, this makes him ever more humble and worthy of admiration.

Paul Melody said...

Actually Joseph was an unskilled laborer, not a skilled carpenter (there was no big demand for carpenters in Judea), he essentially worked with his hands. When you think about it, this makes him ever more humble and worthy of admiration.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"St. Jospeh did not come to Bethlehem to beg."

Not TO beg, but beg he might nevertheless possibly have had to do, if he ran out of money. Also, negotiating for a shelter, even if you pay, can be a bit like begging.

"He wasn't running from Nazareth."

Per se correct, but it seems there were nasty rumour mongerers in Nazareth.

"He came to pay his taxes."

Not immediately, he came for signing up. If the census was even a tax census. Some say the earliest tax census was later and that this was an even earlier loyalty census for heads of families.

If so, and St Joseph would have been legally head of Davidic family, I suppose, such a loyalty census says nothing about his immediate ability to pay taxes. Obviously he had had his shop in Nazareth.

"He was not a homeless man."

No, but when looking for a shelter he experienced for once what many homeless men experience much more often.

"Mary was not an unwed mother."

THAT is true. But perhaps some Jews were treating her otherwise.

"He also, being a skilled artisan had pretty good prospects for finding a job if he and Mary had decided to stay in Bethlehem."

I suppose you mean contract or orders.

I don't see St Joseph taking a boss.

"There was a huge government project going on not too far away. Vile King Herod was building himself a tomb and needed lots of carpenters."

And so, St Joseph in the two years in Bethlehem could replace as local carpenter the local carpenters who were working on Herod's tomb.

I have very little taste for imagining St Joseph doing so himself.

Herod was if not an usurper at least close by and St Joseph could, had he dared, proclaimed himself Messiah as Son of David and challenged Herod.

A Stuart living quietly under a Hannover is one thing, but a Stuart directly serving the Hannovers. Give me a break!

"Actually Joseph was an unskilled laborer, not a skilled carpenter (there was no big demand for carpenters in Judea), he essentially worked with his hands."

What do you mean "unskilled"?

Un-learned is one thing, he was not a scribe or Pharisee, but hardly unskilled.

No big demand? Houses needed to have beams set if new or repaired if old. Tables and furniture (if that came into the question for carpenters) had to be made and repaired.

No, he was NOT unskilled like a man lifting loads in a dock, between a boat and a wagon or between a wagon and a boat.

Late father Leonard Feeney had a better take on carpenters and Judea than you do. You are more like those who were refusing to become carpenters because they consider un-learned as equivalent of un-skilled.

I did not become a carpenter because I had and have too soft fingers (for had, there is no doubt).

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"They probably traveled in a caravan with other kinfolk from their village."

Or not, if evil tongues were already annoying them.