Thursday, December 18, 2014

Advent Reflection: Matthew 1:18-25

Third Wednesday of Advent – Matthew 1:18-25

Today we hear the story of how the birth of Jesus came about. This is a story we have heard countless times. There is the saying: “familiarity breeds contempt.” In this case, familiarity with this Gospel may prompt us to only hear the words and not listen intently to the message of this Gospel.

Do you ever put yourself in Mary’s place? Do you ever imagine what thoughts went through Mary’s mind when all this happened? Just imagine the riot of thoughts and emotions that must have flooded through her! What was she to tell her parents? And what was she to tell Joseph? The tale she had to tell was absolutely unbelievable!

How did Joseph initially react when he heard Mary’s fantastic story? Was he bewildered? Angry? Unbelieving? What did he think of Mary? Did he believe that she had been unfaithful to him? And then an angel of God appears to Joseph in a dream!

Being human, Joseph must have been overwhelmed and confused by all these strange happenings and tales. Yet despite the fantastic and unbelievable circumstances, Joseph had faith. He had deep faith and trust in God and in Mary. Joseph truly was a “man of God.”

How do we react when we are confronted with circumstances that throw us off balance or with situations that confound us or frighten us? Do we continue to trust in God? Or do we walk away from God?

Regardless of how we react, our “God who is with us” never leaves our side. Our loving God is with us in every moment (even if we don’t “feel” God’s presence). Just as God was with Joseph and Mary in this strange, difficult and confusing time, God also walks with us. And God graces us and gifts us with the strength, faith and trust that we need. The question is: are we willing to give God a chance? Will we stay open to God? Do we believe and trust our loving God?

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