18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; 19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, 25 but her knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.
We are very close to Christmas and all the readings of this Sunday tell us a carefully prepared and executed history. We recall in joy this story and we give thanks to God for this gift. Saint Paul, who knew this history, reminds the people of Rome that the incarnation was already announced through the prophets in the sacred writings.
Through the sacred scriptures we have discovered how God prepared the people, a royal generation in David, and finally Mary and Joseph so that his Son may find a dignified and perfect abode. Humanly all were limited by the human intelligence to discover immediately this mystery and a great mystery of incarnation. Yet God intervenes in his way so that man understands this mystery, by preparing each and every one according their capacities and the quality of their cooperation in the accomplishment of the prophecy. If He sent the Angel Gabriel directly to Mary, He chose to speak in dream to Joseph. God continues to intervene in our history discreetly without forcing us too much. Yet a person of faith will easily recognize this divine intervention, not only in their personal life, but also how God marvellously works in each and every one of us. Zachariah took time in his silence to understand the work of God in him and particularly through his son, Mary and Joseph understood instantly and immediately put all their energies to put into practice the Word announced without knowing the consequences of this commitment, trusting in providence and divine protection.
God chose Joseph not only to be an adopted father for His only begotten Son, but to be inscribed in the history of salvation, all subtly with Mary. Joseph will take Mary home, with Mary he will take Jesus, the little child, in his offspring. Yes, Joseph receives a very specific mission: to make Jesus enter into the descendants of David, to accompany and protect him. Thus the real incarnation of God, finds its place in the history of men; God with us. By the incarnation God elevates us worthily to him so that we can participate in his joy and happiness in its fullness.
Let us not be afraid to take the strangers among us, particularly those who are in need of us, in our hearts, as our neighbour in the story of a Good Samaritan. Thus we will welcome Jesus, the Christ our Saviour who seeks a warm place in our hearts. Let us prepare for Him a dignified dwelling, like Joseph who was just before God, prepared His just place in the line of David. Let us be just like him, just before God. God needs us, our cooperation. God will not save man without his cooperation or fidelity. Let us accept, then, the role that God offers us, perhaps it will be today, even tomorrow. If we accept this role as Mary and Joseph with a great opening of our hearts, and if we dare to place ourselves at God's disposal, we will be filled with happiness and joy that this Child has promised us. Amen.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
The righteous branch of David is Christ, by Leo the Great, 400-461 A.D.
"There was only one remedy in the secret of the divine plan that could help the fallen living in the general ruin of the entire human race (Jeremiah 23:5-8). This remedy was that one of the sons of Adam should be born free and innocent of original transgression, to prevail for the rest by his example and by his merits. This was not permitted by natural generation. There could be no clean offspring from our faulty stock by this seed. The Scripture says, 'Who can make a clean thing conceived of an unclean seed? Isn't it you alone?' (Job 14:4) David's Lord was made David's Son, and from the fruit of the promised branch sprang. He is one without fault, the twofold nature coming together into one person. By this one and the same conception and birth sprung our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom was present both true Godhead for the performance of mighty works and true manhood for the endurance of sufferings." (excerpt from Sermon 28.3)