Part One: Scripture
During the year 2020, we read the Gospel of Matthew. If the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (1st May) is celebrated, the Gospel of Matthew is always read. Sometimes after celebrating this memorial, I am asked did Jesus really have brothers because of verses 55 and 56 (Mt.13:55-56). “Isn’t this the carpenter’s child? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judah? His sisters, too, aren’t they all here with us? This question is as old as the Church itself.
In the New Testament there are several stories and statements indicating that Jesus had brothers and sisters. As seen in Matthew’s Gospel, the people of Nazareth can hardly believe that Jesus could teach with such authority. The siblings of Jesus are present after Jesus’ ascension cf. Acts 1:14. James is known outside the New Testament as Jesus’ brother in diverse sources such as the Jewish historian Josephus. Scripture comments only on Mary’s virginity before Jesus’ birth.
Professor Micah Kiel writes: “Every doctrine about Mary is also doctrine about Christ. As the early Church reflected on and worshiped Jesus, the idea of Mary’s perpetual virginity became popular.” By the end of the fourth century, St. Jerome gives the topic full treatment in his treatise, “The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary.” Jerome suggested the Joseph may have had children by a previous marriage and that the Mary referred to in Matthew 13 is the “other Mary” mentioned in Matthew 28:1.
Again Professor Kiel: “Scripture and Tradition here present to us a bit of a paradox. Scripture and some sources from the early Church assume that Jesus had real brothers and sisters. Other sources in the early tradition—and Church teaching—tell us that Mary was a perpetual virgin. Rather than twist Scripture to say something that it really does not, we would do better to embrace the paradox. The mystery of the incarnation will not always be logical; we can’t explain its every facet. The fact that Scripture and Tradition have various ways of thinking about the incarnation testifies to its mystery. Recognizing the diversity within Scripture and Tradition, and not trying to harmonize everything perfectly, allows us to contemplate the mystery of God made flesh.”
We can contemplate the beauty of Mary’s willing participation in God’s action, her role in that plan, and a miraculous birth that led to Jesus on earth as God. On the other hand, we can contemplate on Jesus as not an only child. Jesus is called brother in some parts of the New Testament (Mark 3:34-35; Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11). What would it mean for Jesus to be not only the Son of God, but a sibling—our sibling?*
*Micah Kiel, professor at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa.
Part Two: Re-Opening Churches
Cardinal Tobin dispenses the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days. Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issues or who are 60 years old or older are strongly encouraged to avoid attending public celebrations of Mass because it carries the risk of contagion. We will continue to live-stream the Sunday Mass in Spanish at 9:00 a.m. and in English at 11:00 a.m.
Please subscribe to the parish YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe.
Please pre-register online or by phone if you intend to attend the Mass in person. Registration enables us to maintain “social distancing.” The capacity of the church is currently set at 100. This number may be raised later.
In Phase 3 it is no longer necessary to open the church for personal and private prayer from noon until 3:00 p.m.
St. Lucy celebrates publically weekday Masses, funerals, weddings, and baptisms. Before each Mass, the church will be opened 15 minutes for personal and private prayer. The church will be locked after Mass.
Covid-19 Testing. The two-day affair will take place in the basement of the Church, but that dates have not yet been fixed.