Most of us consider ourselves to be ordinary people, stumbling along in life, trying our best to do the right thing. That's why it's easy for us to relate to Saint Joseph- a man who wants to do the right thing in the face of life's complicated dilemmas. In Matthew's account of Jesus' birth, Joseph is most certainly placed in a situation where he is forced to wrestle with that question, "What is the right thing to do?" And (God bless him) at the beginning of the story, Joseph makes the best decision he can possibly make with the limited knowledge that he has. However, it’s only when Joseph has faith in the message that God reveals that he is finally able to pursue the right course of action— the course of action that’s most in keeping with God’s will. Allow me to broaden that statement: it is only when we have faith in the message that God reveals to US that WE are able to act rightly. This will become clear as we take a closer look at today’s story from Matthew’s Gospel.
During her visit with her cousin Elizabeth, the pregnant Mary bursts into song: “My soul doth magnify the Lord,” Mary sings, “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Right from the opening words of the first stanza, we learn that this is a joyful song of praise— Mary is praising God. But why, exactly? And how is that relevant to us? Those are the two questions that I’m going to touch on over the course of the next few minutes as we take a deeper look at the Magnificat.