Sunday, December 18, 2016

Isaiah 7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-24


The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel. Mt 1:12


Isaiah 7:10-14, Psalm 24:1-6, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-24

Isaiah 7:10-14

My soul's beloved, You always give us signs however we can miss them if we are not attentive. Here the prophet is inviting Ahaz to ask for a sign but he is a hypocrite, and self-righteously says that he would not tempt the Lord by asking for one. Perhaps he was actually afraid to ask because he was fearful of what it would mean. The sign would be one that would cause him discomfort and stir him from his lethargy and he was quite content with the status quo. 

But we can never thwart God's plan. God takes control and will give us the long awaited and long promised sign of the new thing that He was about to do. This awesome, wondrous, totally unfeasible in human terms, unfathomable and infinitely loving and merciful plan would be set in motion when He invites a virgin to cooperate with Him to conceive and bring forth the Son of God and Son of Man so God Himself could become God with us. Emmanuel.

Psalm 24:1-6

You my soul's beloved, the Lord God, the King of glory who are the fullness of the earth and all who are of it, who was there before time began and who as the Eternal Word of the Living God was breathed forth through the Holy Spirit founding the seas, the rivers, the dry land, the mountains, valleys, hills and plains teeming a with life, beauty, and fecundity. You invite us to come up the holy mountain where God dwells, You permit us to enter the holy sanctuary where none but the High Priest could enter just once a year, and You permit us to offer to the Father the most pleasing, the most fragrant sacrifice whose aroma reaches the highest heavens. God is so magnanimous that He desires that we unite the pitiful little sacrifice of our own lives with Your own glorious Sacrifice that redeemed the world. You have given us the Sacrament of Reconciliation that enable us approach You with sinless hands and clean hearts and You teach us how to be truly humble before God.

Thank You for making infinite graces and blessing flow from the Eucharistic Banquet and thank You for the reward of eternal life which will be ours because of our hope in You, our Savior.

Romans 1:1-7

My soul's beloved, as Your disciples, Your followers, through Your merits we are invited to a life of holiness as children of God.  We can do nothing on our own but to us is granted grace and peace from God our Father when we ask for it in You Name. Thank You for the Apostles and for St. Paul whom You set apart to bring the Good News those who would not otherwise have heard it and be saved.

You have set us free from the slavery of sin and we now follow You and we in turn are invited to live the Gospel in our place in the world. Thank You for Your yes to the Father. Thank You for coming into the world in poverty and humility as a helpless little Baby. Thank You for giving us Your life through the power of Your Resurrection and taking upon Yourself our miserable sinful lives that would have ended in eternal death. Give us a burning desire to share the Good News so that all may come to believe in You and be saved.

Matthew 1:18-24

My soul's beloved, if we are not attentive to the voice of God we could do things that are not in accordance with His will although we may truly believe it is. St. Joseph who was a just man honestly believed himself to be right in divorcing Mary whom he found to be with child; a child he knew was not his. This is what the law demanded and as a righteous Jew he would have been acting in accordance with the law. However, even when all seems to be right we could be terribly wrong and this is why we are called to have a listening heart. A heart attuned to You, to Your Spirit, to Your Father' will. Joseph was such a man. 

God spoke to him through the Angel Gabriel, and Joseph not only believed that the it was the Lord, but he obeyed the will of God. How often we are indifferent to God's messengers. God visits us and we miss the times of His visitation because it was not according to our preconceived ideas or what is the norm. 

There is a third element to this listening and being attentive to His voice and to obey Him and that is that we are called to incarnate God in our lives, so He becomes Emmanuel, God with us as we take Him home into our hearts, into our lives, and never permit ourselves to be separated from Him through sin.

If we wish to imitate Joseph we must do as he did. The passage ends with this beautiful stipulation, "He did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home." Where Mary is Jesus is sure to be and so it would do us who call ourselves Your disciples, to take Mary into our home and there to honor, revere, and love her as the Mother of God.

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