Many years ago, a colleague and friend invited me to join the Couples for Christ Community. I made excuses and tried to evade the topic whenever he brought up the request to participate. I argued that it’s unnecessary as I’ve been a good follower of Christ and have been serving my home parish ever since I was in grade school (thanks to the prodding of my beloved mother!). So he stopped for a while, resumed and never stopped until the day came that I said “Yes”, more as a gesture of respect for his persistence. However, God have other plans because that “Yes” gave me a new perspective at learning better my faith and bringing me closer to Him. It was a life changing decision indeed! It opened up a personal relationship with the Lord and have made me see things from a different point of view.
In this Sunday’s Gospel (Mt. 1: 18-24) we are provided Joseph’s point of view of the Lord’s coming. After learning that Mary was pregnant, Joseph, “a righteous man yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly”. It may look like just a simple event but the way Joseph and Mary handled the situation showed us a glimpse of these holy people’s faith in Yahweh God. In those times, this is not an ordinary engagement, but it is more than that: it’s like a portion of the marriage contract is already in motion. A violation can be considered adultery and if proven, the punishment is for Mary to be stoned to death. Even though Joseph has these right under Mosaic law, he chose to act discreetly in his plans to stop the marriage contract, so as to protect Mary. Then God intervenes:
However, 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 conceive 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.”
After Mary said “Yes” to Angel Gabriel, God’s plan of salvation opened up for humanity some more with the “Yes” of Joseph. It’s now a connected event, as prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah in the First Reading (Is. 7:10-14). While God did come into the picture, Joseph showed us how holy and obedient he is. He didn’t hesitate, he showed his commitment to God through his acceptance of Mary as his spouse.
As we begin our reflection of the mystery of the Incarnation, just like how the Gospel today starts: “Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about” (Mt. 1:18), let us pause in awe and wonder of God’s immense love for us. Set aside whatever feelings of hopelessness and anxieties you are experiencing at the moment. (Curiously, as I write these thoughts, my mother is in the third day at the ICU for unstable heart rate and other ailments associated with aging. I pray you share prayers for her this Christmas Season.) Only God is in control, and so let’s lift these all to Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the King of Glory. Let us trust that everything will turn out better with God in control.
“Let the Lord enter; He is King of Glory.” (Ps. 24: 7c and 10b)
(PS. In case you haven’t made up your mind yet, Fr. Armand Robleza is still looking for kind souls willing to sponsor the feeding of hungry children through the Your Kids My Kids Foundation. For details please visit: www.yourkidsmykids.org or send an email to: “firstname.lastname@example.org”. You’ll surely be blessed lighting up a child’s tummy for the next several months. And others will see Jesus in you!)