This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him Emmanuel,
a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.
The Gospel on the last Sunday of Advent draws us into the drama surrounding the formation of the human family into which Jesus Christ is born.
It is a family beset by cofusions and doubts, by tensions around trust, love, and virtue. But it proves to be a family ready to live obedient to the word of God.
- What doubts and uncertainties best you?
- What does the word of God call you too?
- How do you best assist your faithful listening and responding to God’s word?
8th C Roman mosaic of St Joseph. Pushkin Museum, Moscow. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.