Thursday, January 5, 2012

Where did the Holy Family live?


Tradition is strong and consistent of two points about the birth and early life of Jesus: (1) he was born in the town of Bethlehem, located in the area called Judea; (2) he was raised in Nazareth - about 90 miles to the north.
What is uncertain is where Mary and Joseph lived at the time of their marriage.
Matthew assumes that Mary and Joseph were living in Bethlehem and were married there. His problem is to get them from Bethlehem where Jesus was born to Nazareth where he was raised. Here is how this is accomplished in Mattehew. Recall that after Jesus' birth in Behtlehem, the holy family fled to Egypt. After Herod's death they intended to return to Bethlehem:

                      But when Joseph heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea
                      in palce of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there. And
                      because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee.
                      HE went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth.


                      Luke has Mary and Joseph living in Nazareth and married there. His problem is to get them
to Bethlehem for the birth. Here is how his unfolds in Luke:

                       In those days a decree went our from Caesar Augustus that the whole
                       world should be enrolled....So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
                       And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea,
                       to the city of David that is called Bethlehem.



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