Today's Mass Readings (The fall of man / Mary's Yes / Mary wasn't planning on having sex with Joseph after marriage)

**Monday, Solemnity of the Immaculate conception (12-8)

Genesis 3:9-15, 20:

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the Lord God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.” Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!” The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me - she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.” The Lord God then asked the woman, “Why did you do such a thing?” The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.” The Lord said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; on your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.

Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12:

Brothers and Sisters: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.

**St. Luke 1:26-38: **

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of he Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” But Mary said to the angel, ***“How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” ***and the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren, for nothing will be impossible for God. Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. **

**Mary is incredulous because she had consecrated herself to God as a perpetual virgin and even though she was planning on marrying Joseph, it was not to be a consummated marriage… **

This is the one glaring thing about Catholicism that I have a serious problem with…possibly the only thing.

The verse says that she hadn’t had relations with a man, not that she never would. Of course she hadn’t! She was betrothed, not married. Consummation didn’t occur until after the marriage ceremony was performed.

I just don’t see how Joseph would agree to give up that aspect of marriage when it would be totally unecessary once Jesus was born and the miracle of the virgin birth completed. More to the point–why would she be married at all if she never planned to consummate it? In every possible society, a marriage is considered invalid if not consummated especially in ancient times through the middle ages. This would make sense to me only if Mary had remained unmarried her whole life and left Joseph free to marry another woman with whom he could have a complete marriage.

Sorry to be so worked up, but this frustrates me, because I see no logical explanation. I know someone will tell me to take it on faith, but I simply am not the sort of person who can do that with something that so glaringly makes no sense whatsoever, especially in the historical context of the time, and especially when most everything else can be explained within that context.

I would suggest that this is reading beyond that which is implied by the original text…to the best of my knowledge the present active indicative (the form of the verb “to know” used here) speaks to what is currently happening, and here is more literally translated “a man I do not know”.

How old were Jesus’s supposed younger siblings?

Jesus had no younger siblings.

I know. I was hoping someone who thinks he did would clue me in on the ages.

Come on, people, how old were they?

32, 31, 30, 28, 27, 26. Plus or minus a year or so for each. That assumes Jesus was about 33-35 when he died.

Thanks. So that would mean that all of them were alive when he was lost in the Temple, correct?

Technically Jesus wasn’t lost in the Temple. The family including his siblings were returning home when they realized Jesus wasn’t with them. They returned to the Temple to find HIM preaching. So I wouldn’t say lost but if you want to I’ll go along.

Alright. So the Bible, when telling that story, mentions the siblings, right?

The Gospel writers, or in this case Luke, does not specifically mention a sibling by name. But what is most interesting is that in verse 44 Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph assumed Jesus to be with the “Group”. They then search among relatives and acquaintances to see if they can find HIM. Remember the focus here is that Jesus was missing, not one of HIS siblings.

Why does group imply siblings?

Why did Mary not say “Your father, siblings, and I were worried?”

The verse says She does not know man. The verse says, “How can this be?” We assume She knows how babies are made. She wouldn’t have this objection if She had planned to have sex.

Also, keep in mind, The Blessed Virgin is the Spouse, first and foremost, of the Holy Spirit. Though She was married to St. Joseph, he was more of a guardian for Her and the Baby. The Holy Spirit had already concecrated the relationship with Her.

Why would anybody, legitimate question, why would anybody want to have sex with the woman who God was in? God was in Her. God overshadowed Her and became one with Her and grew in Her. God. There is no way that a good and holy Jewish man would even attempt that.

Also, keep in mind that this idea is a VERY new idea. For the first…1500 to 1800 years, all Christians, all legitimate Christians knew Mary to be the Mother ONLY to Jesus, having no sexual relations at all and passing no other children from her womb.

I’m not implying that Luke’s use of the word group translates to siblings. But it does tell us that Mary and Joseph were traveling with a group amongst which they searched for Christ. Given that Christ could have been among the group, there’s no reason to think that HIS siblings couldn’t have been either.

As far as being worried? Remember Jesus was 12 so if, and I’m saying only if, Christ had siblings they would have been maybe between the ages of like 7-10 plus or minus a year or 2. The absence of stating that the siblings weren’t worried doesn’t result in proof that there are no siblings. I have a sister that is 5 years older than me. When I was about 16 my car broke down and I was extremely late getting home from work. Given that cell phones didn’t exist as they do today I had no means of contacting my family. Upon my return home my mother yelled “your father and I were worried sick about you” Now my older sister was home as well. Why didn’t my mother say your father, sister and I were worried sick about you? Does the absence of her referencing my sister result in proof that I had no sister? No it does not.

Again you have to be careful not to apply your logic to the Gospel writers. Just because you think they should have mentioned something that makes sense to you doesn’t imply that they would. And the absence of the Gospel writers not following your logic doesn’t result in proof of something that you are looking for to be concrete. The Gospels are very short compared to Christ’s life so they are only focusing on the things that are pertinent to Christ.

The inverse of what you say is also true. Just because you think they should be there does not mean that they were. If he had siblings that were younger, why were they not mentioned until one or two places late in his life? Where are they at the Wedding of Cana? They were not mentioned there or at the incident in the Temple. Does that not strike you as strange?

We have many reasons for denying that there were younger siblings, from exogesis to Early Church Fathers. To me, the strongest is the lack of mention at the one incedent where siblings could have been present.

Sorry to break into your conversation adstrinity. But I’d like to comment if that’s Ok:)

The problem with your argument is that the response Mary gives to the Angel is I do not know a man. The Greek word used there for man is Aner. This is the word a married or betrothed woman would use to refer to her spouse. Given this verse is written in the past tense the true interpretation would be how can this be I have not known my husband. Or to be blunt it would state I have not had sex with my husband (aner).

Mary wasn’t objecting to the fact of: I’m not ever having sex so how in the world would I get pregnant? She was puzzled because the Angel told her she would conceive using present tense language in the Greek. Given that she was probably 7-8 months away from proceeding with her marriage to Joseph, it would make sense that she would ask this question. Mary is thinking she wouldn’t have children for maybe another year or so yet here’s an Angel proclaiming she’s going to conceive right now.

Also, keep in mind, The Blessed Virgin is the Spouse, first and foremost, of the Holy Spirit. Though She was married to St. Joseph, he was more of a guardian for Her and the Baby. The Holy Spirit had already concecrated the relationship with Her.

There’s no consecration being done here as there is no marriage of Mary to the Holy Spirit. But if we are to follow the logic that you are using then under Jewish law the only way a woman can then marry another man is if the current one she had sex with gave his consent. So did Joseph have that consent? Yes he did when the Angel told him not to be afraid to proceed with marriage. Given that the Angels are GOD’s messengers, Joseph just received permission from GOD to continue to take Mary as his wife, which would result in them having sex.

Why would anybody, legitimate question, why would anybody want to have sex with the woman who God was in? God was in Her. God overshadowed Her and became one with Her and grew in Her. God. There is no way that a good and holy Jewish man would even attempt that.

Why? Is there Jewish law that precludes this from happening? No there isn’t. This was a one time and fairly significant occurrence. There’s no reason to believe that GOD did not want Mary to have a normal married life. That’s why HE prevented Joseph from divorcing Mary or putting her away as the Jews say.

Also, keep in mind that this idea is a VERY new idea. For the first…1500 to 1800 years, all Christians, all legitimate Christians knew Mary to be the Mother ONLY to Jesus, having no sexual relations at all and passing no other children from her womb.

Not true. Marian devotion did not develop until around the 5th or 6th century. There’s no documentation from the ECFs immediately after the Apostles that supports this.

From the very beginning all believed Mary was always virgin.

catholic.com/library/Mary_Ever_Virgin.asp

Mary IS the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. That’s Catholic Teaching. Mary is daughter of the Father, Mother to the Son, and Spouse to the Spirit.

Yes absolutely the inverse definitely could be true. But the burden then falls to you to prove that by these verses we can deduct that Jesus had no siblings. The burden would fall to me if scripture never referenced siblings, but it does so you have to disprove it. As far as the wedding at Cana? Again the absence of documentation from a small piece of John’s Gospel doesn’t prove anything. Maybe they weren’t there. Or if they were so what. Why would it be important for John to mention them when the focus is on the miracle Jesus is about to perform of converting the water to wine. If Jesus did not perform a miracle here then John would probably never have written about the wedding feast at Cana. The whole point is to highlight the miracle.

Does it strike me as being strange? Not really. I can’t imply my own logic with regard to what I think the Gospel writers should have written about vs what they actually wrote. The focus of the Gospels is Jesus. HIS family is only highlighted when it fits what they are writing about. Such as telling us that they didn’t believe, the Jews questioning that HE was the carpenters son, and that his brothers and sisters lived right there among them etc. etc. The Gospel writers hardly mention Mary. There are less than 35 or so versus that mention Mary. Now here is Jesus’ mother. We see nothing of her past the upper room in the beginning of Acts and she is never mentioned in another work of official Canon.

She’s mentioned in some of the non-canonical books such as the infancy Gospel of James. But the church never accepted that as inspired or accurate. So one could say that is strange as well. The bottom line is I don’t worry about Jesus siblings as they have no impact on my salvation. If HE did have brothers and sisters then OK. If HE didn’t then OK. I would never get so bold as to proclaim that HE never had siblings as I view that as very disrespectful.

We have many reasons for denying that there were younger siblings, from exogesis to Early Church Fathers. To me, the strongest is the lack of mention at the one incedent where siblings could have been present.

What ECFs are you referring to and what exegesis are you referring to? A critical review of scripture is more suggestive of Jesus actually having siblings than not. We can entertain that anytime you like. I’m not aware of any ECF that wrote of Jesus siblings. Especially if you look at the ones following immediately after the Apostles such as Ignatius, Polycarp and Clement. I suppose you could throw in Irenaeus as well.

Yes you are right in that this is Roman Catholic teaching. But don’t throw a Roman Catholic link at me to try and prove a point. The proof is right in the text plain and simple. Incidentally please show me where scripture states Mary as the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Save your time because you won’t find it.

Actually, my point about the ECF was that they do not mention Jesus’s siblings. The whole thing seems strange to me. WHy were they not at the Crucifixion? Why would they give Jesus orders, knowing that he was the eldist and first-born son? Why was Mary’s care given over to John, who would have been YEARS younger than the possible ages you gave?

I will grant you that you do not have to have an opinion. THe only reason Catholics have to accept it is because the Church teaches it.

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