December 18, 2017

Dec. 18

December 18, 2017 / Monday, 3rd week, Advent

See more than a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

Pope Francis homily
When signs of Mary's pregnancy appeared, Joseph must have doubted and suffered while others those around him gossipped.  Knowing she was a godly woman, he decided to send her away quietly till the Lord explained how the child had been conceived; then Joseph believed and obeyed.  In his internal struggle, he heard God say, "Get up," often heard in scripture at the start of a mission.  Take charge; go forward.  Joseph didn’t go to his friends for comfort or to a psychiatrist to interpret the dream; he believed and went forward.  He took charge of fatherhood and mystery:
He took charge of fatherhood.  Joseph took on a paternity not his own: it came from the Father.  And he went ahead with that fatherhood and all it signified, supporting Mary and the Child, rearing the Child, teaching him a trade.  Take up a paternity that's not yours, but God’s.
Joseph took in hand the mystery of leading people to God, helping through silence and his work.  He's said to be the shadow of God the Father.  If Jesus learned to say ‘father,’ to God his Father, he learned it from the witness of Joseph, who took care of him.  God needed the great Joseph to carry forward the mystery of leading people to the new creation.

  • Jer 23:5-8  I'll raise up a righteous shoot to David, a king to govern wisely, “The Lord our justice.”  Judah shall be saved.
  • Ps 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19  "Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever."  The king shall govern with justice, rescuing the poor.
  • Mt 1:18-25  Mary was found with child; Joseph decided to divorce her quietly.   Angel:  “Joseph, take Mary into your home; child was conceived through the Spirit and will save.”  She bore a son; he named him Jesus.
  • Today's O Antiphon:  Adonai, Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:  come to rescue us with your mighty power!
    • Creighton:  "A baby changes everything."  But the angel said, "do not be afraid," and name him "Emmanuel, 'God is with us.'"  The story about baby Jesus is wonderful, but also knowing Jesus is still with us.  The Holy Spirit is still guiding us....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Be like Joseph":  Joseph knew his wife was pregnant by someone else; apparently his betrothed was an adulteress.  Yet in a dream, an angel told him Mary had conceived by the Spirit.  Would you believe in something that never happened before that you can't understand, that you heard in a dream?  Joseph's belief in Mary's virginal conception was one of the greatest acts of faith ever.  To meet Christ this Christmas, we must also have, walk, and live by faith, or else we can't please God.  Few were aware of the first Christmas, despite the star.  This Christmas, the ones who will meet Christ will be  the ones with faith....
    • Passionist:  One can only imagine Joseph's situation:   preparations for the wedding and married life, his plans, dreams.   How would he have reacted initially to this news about Mary?  But he discerned, taking God with him to look at our choices and responses.  What is God asking me?  Where is God in this situation?  How am I being called, and why?  May we pause to notice what's happening around and within.
      The Dream of St. Joseph/ La Tour
    •  "He will save his people from their sins":   Jeremiah and Isaiah spoke hope in a hopeless situation:  The corrupt Davidic dynasty was unfit for a Messianic King.  When apostates like Ahaz and weaklings like Zedekiah occupied the throne, how could God raise up a righteous King?  The prophets trusted God would “raise up a righteous shoot.”  We too are called “in hope to believe against hope” that God will fulfill his promises.  Mary was asked to accept the miracle of conceiving Jesus; it took tremendous faith and trust.  She and Joseph weren't married yet, and pregnancy outside marriage wasn't tolerated.  Joseph, her family, and her people could have rejected her, but she still believed and trusted.  Joseph didn't want to embarrass or punish Mary when he thought she was unfaithful.  He didn't judge or react hastily, God guided him, and he believed.  Like Mary, Joseph is a model of faith for us....
    Dress legend
    • 'Tree' pin:  God will raise up righteous shoot (1st reading)
    • 'Scales' tie:  They'll name the king "The Lord our justice" (1st reading); justice shall flourish (psalm)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Peace shall flourish (psalm)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  I'll raise up a King (1st reading); endow the king (psalm)
    • 'Angel' pin:  Gabriel (gospel)
    • 'Dove' pin:  Angel:  "The child was conceived through the Holy Spirit" (gospel)
    • Blue, white, and green shirt:  blue and white for emphasis on Mary at end of Advent, green for upcoming Christmas
    • 'NoëL' button:  Today's Christmas party
    • Purple suspenders:  Advent...

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