Feast of Joy at held at the Gozo General Hospital on Sunday
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A Feast of Joy took place at the Gozo General Hospital on Sunday, which opened with a Pontifical Mass led by Mgr. Mario Grech, Bishop of Gozo, at the Chapel of the hospital
The Homily by Bishop Grech is shown in full below:
“Although it is not pleasant, we often find ourselves in Saint Joseph’s sandals! When he got to know that Mary was expecting a child that was not his, Joseph entered a crisis because he did not know what to do. According to the law, Mary, in that condition, was worthy of abandonment! Joseph was aware of what had happened to Mary and so was duty bound to follow the law of Moses stating that if a man could not find proof of the virginity of the maiden, he was bound to take “the girl to her father, and the men of the town will stone her until she dies because she had done a shameful thing in Israel by sinning in her father’s house. Thus you will destroy evil from your midst! (Dt 22:20-21). At the same time, Joseph loved Mary and became confused: obey the Law or have mercy on his beloved? Joseph was clever and “decided to divorce her informally” (Mt 1:19). In this way Joseph would be obeying the law and, also save her from embarrassment.
But the Gospel tells us that Joseph slept and dreamt God’s dream. God does not reason like us humans. God does not alienate anyone, not even those who had broken his law. God told Joseph not to abandon Mary but to welcome her to himself, because what she had conceived came from the Holy Spirit. In all truth, God’s dream is beautiful!
This word gives us courage, because it is easy for us to find ourselves in Mary’s position, in the sense that according to other people we may appear not to have made perfect choices. It often happens that as a result of these choices we may lose faith in ourselves, or others may look down on us. We tend to not forgive ourselves and to feel abandoned.
Because he was a “just” man, Joseph was tempted to follow the law rigorously. But God’s justice is different from our human justice. In our mind, justice is retributive – one has to pay for his bad actions; but for God, justice is love, commiseration, forgiveness and mercy. As Pope Francis says, “the heart of the Father goes beyond the narrow concept we have of justice because it opens wide horizons of mercy”. (Feb. 3, 2016). Therefore, we are encouraged , because that is what God dreams for us, even if in our weakness our deeds are objectively unlawful. As Simon Weil wrote, “that one puts the law before the person: this is the essence a great blasphemy.”
This attitude of God helps us to correct our own attitude toward our neighbour who makes mistakes. Very often it is easy for us to judge, condemn and abandon whoever crosses the line. We need to dream God’s dream. It is not easy but is possible. As Joseph did regarding Mary, we must try to save whoever goes out of line. We have these experiences in various contexts of our life – in family life, in our relationships with each other, in our work… We meet them also in this hospital, the house that offers us needed care. I am convinced that there are situations when the medical staff would not know what to do regarding a person close to death. Many times, our life depends on the decisions taken in our regard by the medical team.
There may be very difficult situations, and I pray God to give you the wisdom to take good decisions and, if possible, not to give up on anyone. It is true that there are limits where science has no remedy; but let nature indicate when the battle is lost. We must not submit to the temptation that Joseph had and be guided solely by protocols, but we should do our level best to safeguard human life. The person is of greater importance than any protocol. I know that this is the ethos of the health services of our country, and for this I give my thanks to God and to you.
Joseph knew that the child was not his and he could have thrown Mary out of his life, but he chose to sacrifice himself for them. I recommend to you, when faced with a fading life, to take the extra step to protect it. There are various ways for anyone to “give of himself” in the service of life. One can place at the patient’s disposal his time, the wisdom he acquired, his expertise, gentle bedside manners… A noble act one could do for a sick person is to donate blood. Whoever donates blood is a great benefactor of humanity.
Therefore, let us be enkindled to dream the dream of God. In Joseph’s story, God permitted the angel to introduce him into His dream. Today, also, God inserts us in his dream through other angels – but angels that have no wings – men and women that we encounter every day.”