Daily Reflection – 12/18/19
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)
Unlike Luke, Matthew doesn’t begin the story focused on Mary, but with Joseph.
Here is a man who loves the woman he is betrothed to, who, as it turns out, is pregnant. Even in today’s world this would be quite a demand, for a man to marry a woman who was pregnant with a child that is not his own. But Joseph loved her, and even when he wanted to send her away, he wanted to do so quietly in order to protect her. But this incredible story doesn’t end there because God interceded. In a dream, Joseph was told what to do. When Joseph awoke, he knew he must trust in God and take Mary as his wife.
Wow, what faith in God! There are so many opportunities in this situation for Joseph to slip away quietly, and who would blame him? But his faith in God was greater than his fear of the unknown, and as a result, he played a key part in ushering in Emmanuel. Joseph was able and willing to set aside everything he knew and risk the unknown in order to surrender more fully to God.
He was not hasty to judge or to react with hurt and anger. God rewarded him not only with guidance and consolation, but with the divine assurance that he had indeed called Joseph to be the husband of Mary and to assume a mission that would require the utmost faith, confidence, and trust in Almighty God. Joseph believed in the divine message to take Mary as his wife and to accept the child in her womb as the promised Messiah.
Like Mary, Joseph is a model of faith for us. He is a faithful witness and servant of God’s unfolding plan of redemption. Are you ready to believe in the promises of God, even when faced with perplexing circumstances and what seems like insurmountable problems? God has not left us alone, but has brought us his only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us look forward to Christmas, the feast of the Incarnation, with joyful hearts and let us renew our faith and hope in God and in his redeeming work.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, you wonderfully invite me to help you in your mission to save souls, Lord. You respect my freedom, and you want me to respond out of love. Let me appreciate that truth fully and let me be generous with you.
This Gospel passage could be called a second Annunciation. At the first Annunciation, Mary said “yes” to the angel. Now, Joseph’s “yes” was needed in order to ensure that Jesus would have the appearance of an earthly father (and a reputable lineage). Jesus often wants to come back into the world, so to speak, to touch lives: through a work of charity, a word of kindness ― or even a new baby. He counts on our help though. What help could Jesus be asking of me so as to carry out his plans? Could I be thwarting his plans because of laziness, stubbornness, or selfishness? Is he asking me to cooperate with someone? With a loved one? A classmate? A co-worker?