18th December Advent le 18 décembre l’Avent

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit.”
Saturday 21 November 2015

Jr.23,5-8 Ps.71 Mt.1, 18-24

18th December Advent

“This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph.”

It is fitting that we allow ourselves to be instructed by witnesses of the Gospel with all the loyalty of our intelligence, so as to try to understand God’s initiative. The Word that wells up from within us, deeper than our conscience, is of an admirable light that joins us in our experience when God leads us in his Love.

Joseph is in a state of anguish, he is in darkness and can’t see any outcome to his ordeal. We can be frightened by this call that Joseph has, as much as we can be of this Word that surges forth from the deepest part of his being. He prays his God, for the trail he is in is one of faith. Joseph doesn’t doubt Mary in the least. He knows that what is engendered in her comes from the Holy spirit :

“Now, before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.”

But Joseph doesn’t feel worthy to receive such a mystery, to receive Mary who was given to her. As he is an upright man, he recognises that God is at work, but he doesn’t feel worthy of this and wants to withdraw. He s going to put himself aside like an upright man who doesn’t want to take hold of the gift of God : ’He made up his mind to divorce her informally.’

What could these men, always ready to contest ,reply to this upright man? If he had uncovered his thoughts, if he had told of his conviction of his fiancée’s purity, these sceptic people would have turned him into an object of scorn, and they would have stoned Mary! So Joseph was right, he who wanted neither to lie nor to defame.

“But the angel said to him”Do not fear! What is born of her comes from the Holy Spirit."

Matthew wanted to clarify on a theological level the facts and bring out a catechism for Christians. Jesus comes into the world through the lineage of

David, and he does so through the intermediary of Joseph, who adopts him legally as a son.

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit; she will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus.”

Jesus comes into the world in the big family of Abraham and of David. He is the long-awaited Messiah. This is the meaning of the long genealogy that opens up the gospel : from Abraham, to the king David.

“Matthan fathered Jacob; and Jacob fathered Joseph, the husband of Mary.”

Joseph was a believer who was coherent in his faith, a man, who, because of his holiness, was thoroughly disposed to be able to enter into God’s design because he was totally ’adjusted’ to what God wanted. Joseph knows that if ever he needed it, he would have the law for him, he knows too that a denunciation would have terrible consequences for Mary and the child. He makes up his mind to opt for the solution the most discreet, the most respectful of people,as far as possible the closest to God.

“Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife.”

We recognise that we are unworthy to receive Jesus in communion for we have lost the meaning of what is divine, the sense of God! Joseph shows us how to enter into this state of adoration.

“The child conceived in her was by the Holy Spirit.”

Like Joseph, we very often need to be enlightened in our calling, we ought to face up to the living God, knowing that we have a mission to be accomplished.

“When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do ; he took his wife to his home.”

God never stops coming into our human history in order to open it up to something new. He opens up the doors of the Kingdom for us to find our true place.

The Chosen One of God , filled with the Holy Spirit, will bring his mission among all men. Jesus will be ’The Lord who saves’. He will be the one who will free his people from their sins. Thus Joseph is put before his vocation in society. He accepts the service of the paternity of Jesus, and will give his name, a sign that he recognises this child, he will bring the necessary social

recognition : ’You will call him Jesus.’ He must also protect Mary, Jesus’ mother. And so we have the mission of Joseph.

With Saint Joseph, we ask Mary to accompany us as we go to Jesus, and we ask for the grace to bring about God’s work so as to be saved by Him. it is Jesus Himself who will say to us :’Take all of you and eat : This is my Body. Take all of you and drink: this is my Blood’. And so we are put before our vocation to live from him and in him!

We ask for the grace to welcome Jesus as Mary welcomed him.