At last -- Advent ends and the great celebration of Christ’s birth begins! God’s love for His people is revealed in the birth of His Son, the Son of Mary.
Reflections on the readings for the Nativity of the Lord -- Vigil Mass (December 24, 2022): IS 62:1-5; PS 89:4-5,16-17,27,29; Acts 13:16-17,22-25; MT 1:1-25
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The Eternal Father draws us to Himself through His only begotten Son, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew begins with the family history of St. Joseph. The Jewish people had long awaited someone from the line of King David who would be their Messiah, the Anointed One. He would rescue God’s chosen people from their tribulations. Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, was divinely selected to be the legal as well as the foster father of Jesus. The long genealogy mentions famous names including Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Ruth, the mother of Jesse and grandmother of David. But most of those listed were scarcely or completely unknown. Yet, they all played a part in the story of salvation. Matthew goes on to tell us about the birth of Jesus from the perspective of Joseph. He and Mary were betrothed and planning their future life together. Then he learned that she was carrying a child. Joseph knew that the child is not his. Because was a good and just man, he decided to divorce her as quietly as possible. However, God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to tell him that He has other plans. Explaining that it was through the Holy Spirit that the Blessed Virgin conceived her Son and that Joseph must not be afraid, the angel instructed him to claim her as his wife as they had originally planned. “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. … She bore a Son, and he named Him Jesus” (Matthew 1:24-25).
In some ways, the Holy Family appeared to be no different from their neighbors. Yet so much had changed. The Son of Mary was the Son of God. And it was now Joseph’s responsibility to look after them, love them, and protect them to the best of his ability. It would not be an easy life for them. Joseph had to journey with his nine-month pregnant wife to Bethlehem where Christ would be born. And, not so long afterwards, the three of them had to flee into Egypt. They became refugees in order to avoid soldiers sent by Herod to kill the newborn King. But Mary and Joseph always put Jesus first. They did all that our Eternal Father asked of them. So this Christmas, we rejoice. Perhaps we will be with loved ones; perhaps that is not possible. But despite troubles in difficult times for so many people, we can still find joy in the presence of Christ in our life and the life of the world. Because we know that Holy Infant grew up and, in His overwhelming love, saved us. Forever.