December 18

Matt 1:18-25

The Birth of Jesus

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

There was once a young mother who brought her three beautiful children to a hamburger outlet. In the middle of their meal, the mother and the children collapsed. The storeowner quickly brought them to the nearest hospital. Unfortunately, the six-year old youngest child did not make it. When the mother revived, she confessed that she tried to poison herself and her children because her husband left them and she was afraid that she would not be able to sustain the family. She could not face and solve her problems all alone.

In our world today, beset by poverty, violence, environmental destruction, infidelity, and indifference, people can easily become desperately fearful and paranoid. Yes, fear is part of human life. But if we do not learn to overcome it, we become paralyzed and lose our trust in life and in the saving power of God. Fear makes us unable to recognize God’s gifts in us and our capacity to move on and live.

Christmas is special day to look forward to because this feast is our assurance that God is with us and among us in Jesus. Even if God allows adversary to cross our journey, He never ceases to be present in all the events of our life. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, let us also not forget to share the gift of faith to others especially to those who are unable to recognize the saving presence of God in their life. So that in our own little way, we could be bearers of God’ life-giving love. (SVD friend Bible Diary 2002)

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In today’s gospel, Matthew unveils a new aspect of Jesus’ teaching – a new understanding of what means to be related with God. Among the Jews, to have a good relationship with God, being good or being just, has a very precise connotation. It means following the law to the very last detail. In fact, the Pharisees, the teachers of the law, believed and taught that if every Jew would just follow the law God gave to Moses, the Kingdom of God would be realized.

Today, using the figure of St. Joseph – a forgotten and misunderstood saint, Matthew teaches us what, in the new religion of Jesus, is the new meaning of being related with God, being good and being just. Joseph who betrothed to Mary found out that Mary was with a child before their official marriage. He knew that he was not the culprit. As a good Jew, the law obliged him to report Mary to the authorities who, in cases as this, would hand down judgment for Mary to be stoned to death. This was the Law of Moses. He thought of doing what was expected of him as a Jew. However, Matthew says in today’s gospel: “Joseph being a just man AND not wanting to put Mary to shame, decided to leave her secretly.” The important word in this verse is the word AND. In the original Greek, the role played by this word is like that abbreviation we use in English i.e., which stands for the Latin ID EST, meaning that is. If we take the verse again, it would go like this: “Joseph being a just man THAT IS or WHICH MEANS, not wanting to put Mary to shame, decided to leave her secretly.”

Matthew calls Joseph a just man (one who was good, who had a good rapport with God) which in Jewish understanding would have mean to follow the law to the letter. However, in his version, it was the opposite that Joseph did. Instead of reporting Mary to the authorities, he decided to leave Mary secretly because he did not want her to be put to shame. And this is the motive why Matthew calls Joseph a just man. This is the new meaning of being just, of being good and of having a good rapport with God: NOT WANTING TO PUT MARY TO SHAME, which means TO BE SENSITIVE TO THE NEEDS OF OUR NEIGHBOR, TO LET OUR HEART BLEED FOR OUR NEIGHBOR, TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR. Was it not Matthew who taught us in chapter 25 of his gospel that LOVE OF NEIGHBOR is the condition for our entrance and non-entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. In the religion that Jesus started, to be good, to be just, to have a good relationship with God is TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR.

The same Matthew tells us the reason behind this new understanding of being related with God: “Whatever you do to the least of your brothers/sisters, you do it also to me.” Jesus has identified himself with our neighbor.

If this is so, then there is sense in being sensitive to the needs of our neighbor, to let our heart bleed for them. (Fr. Ding Fabiosa, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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You would know this, wouldn’t you? This, S-I-L-E-N-T is made of exactly the same letters as L-I-S-T-E-N, no more, no less!

So what?

So it’s not surprising at all that, in the Annunciation narrative, Mary falls silent before the heavenly messenger, after her only query. “How can this be done….?” Mary is listening intently to the angel’s explanation. Which is to say Mary is at prayer deep prayer.

Prayer is conversing with God. In conversing, one also listens. One who does all the talking is by no means a good conversationalist.

Prayer is listening to the Word and the Word maybe a message, an event or a person. One who is at prayer may then be receiving a message, or taking part in an event, or surrendering to a person. In the case of Mary at the Annunciation, she is truly receiving a message from God, truly taking part in the Incarnation event, and truly surrendering herself totally to God.

No wonder she is so silent.

This prayer-filled moment of the Annunciation is the very moment – O blessed of all moment! When the Word begins to become flesh in Mary of Nazareth.

And the cry of the moment is the cry pf the humble and hope-filled: “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Fr. Dong Alpuerto, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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Question at the noontime TV show, “Pilipinas, Game Ka Na Ba?”: The Catholic Church teaches that the Blessed Virgin Mary, though remaining a virgin, gave birth to Jesus, the Savior of the world. What is this doctrine called? A male participant: “Immaculate Conception.” Kris Aquino: “You are wrong. The others can steal.” A female participant: “The Virgin Birth.” Kris Aquino: “Correct!”

For isn’t it in our faith that, in the relations of the Triune God, the Son is son indeed in relation to the Father, but no mother is involved?

And isn’t it true also that, in the Incarnation, Jesus, the Word-made-flesh, is Son indeed but without a human father?

Still more, isn’t it true that Jesus, the Son of Mary of Nazareth, needed someone worthy to stand as his father before the eyes of people, otherwise Mary’s reputation would be ruined? And so Joseph, the carpenter, the silent one, is the perfect response to this human need.

In the beginning, though, on learning that Mary was already with child, Joseph’s first impulse was to put her side, to disengage himself from her. Being a just man, he did not want to have anything to do with al already pregnant girl. But again being a just man, he did not want to put her to shame; so he decided to put her aside quietly; no fuss at all.

And it was at that point that God intervened – through a dream. And so it was that Joseph leaned of the Divine Secret. How privileged he was! And what a wise choice on the part of God, entrusting a precious secret to one who, to all indications, loved to be silent.

Foster father of Jesus, protector of Mary’s honor, breadwinner of the Holy Family – Joseph became all these and more. (Fr. Cornelio B. Alpuerto, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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According to an unknown source that righteousness is an attribute of moral purity that belongs to God alone (John 17:25). It is He alone who is truly righteous. No one in the world is righteous in the eyes of the Lord, that is, except the Christian. We are counted righteous in the eyes of God when we receive Jesus by faith (Phil. 3:9). Our righteousness is based on what Jesus did on the cross. The righteousness that was Christ’s is counted to us. We, then, are seen as righteous in the eyes of God. Though we are actually worthy of damnation, we are made righteous (Is. 61:10) by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. As a result, we will spend eternity in the presence of the holy, pure, loving, kind, gentle and righteous God.

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December 18, 2012

St. Peter Truat
Late Advent Weekdays: Dec. 18
VIOLET

Jer 23:5-8
Ps 72
Mt 1:18-25

Mt 1:18-25
The Birth of Jesus

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. 19Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 20Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. 21She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:/ 23“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,/ and they shall name him Emmanuel,”/  which means, “God is with us.” 24When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. 25He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

REFLECTION:

He was a righteous man. This is how Joseph is described. Why? The law of Moses calls for the stoning “of a young woman who is brought to her husband’s house and found not to be a virgin” (Dt 22:20-21).

His betrothed Mary is found to be with child. In order not to expose her to public disgrace or scandal and possible death, Joseph wishes to divorce her quietly.

God sends his angel in a dream to clarify things with Joseph and reveal the divine plan. Being a righteous person, he does not doubt the message of the angel or question the intentions of God. He obeys and places himself at the service of Mary and Jesus.

God has entrusted us with a mission. He has assigned specific tasks to us according to our capacities. God believes in our ability. Besides, God gives us the necessary graces so that we can fulfill God’s will for us.

God tells us, “Don’t be afraid!” We need not fear accepting new responsibilities, taking a stand for God, and carrying our cross.

If God walks with us, whom shall we fear? If we remain with God, how can we possibly miss our way to heaven?

ssp.ph/index.php/online-resources/366-days-with-the-lord/2080-december-18-2012

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3rd Day, 18th December Year A: Theme is Emmanuel

Readings: Jeremiah 23: 5-8; Matthew 1: 18-25

The short reflection on the 3rd day of Misa de Gallo is taken from the Gospel reading (Matthew 1: 18-25). “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” (Mt. 1: 23)

The passage invites us to reflect on the fidelity of God to his promise… the sign – A Virgin with child and his name is Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’!

We, like the Blessed Mother Mary, are too tiny to imagine greatness within us. But God always hides – it seems, inside of littleness and seeming insignificance. God lets us do all the discovering.

The people, who can recognize God in the child born of the Virgin Mary in a manger, also recognize within their own puny and ordinary lives the same God who will freely and daringly affirm the Divine Presence in the humanity of Jesus, in their lives and in the whole creation. It is all one and the same patterns – ‘Emmanuel which means God is with us’. Bapa Jun Mercado, OMI (https://www.facebook.com/jun.mercado)

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Reflection: Joseph is described as a “righteous man.” Why? The Law of Moses calls for the stoning “of a young woman who is brought to her husband’s house and found not to be a virgin,” (Deut 22:20-21).

His betrothed Mary is found to be with child. In order not to expose her to public disgrace or scandal and possible death, Joseph wishes to divorce her quietly.

God sends his angel in a dream to clarify things with Joseph and reveal the divine plan. Being a righteous person, he does not doubt the message of the angel or question the intentions of God. He obeys and places himself at the service of Mary and Jesus.

God has entrusted us with a mission. He has assigned specific tasks to us according to our capacities. God believes in our ability. Besides, he gives us the necessary graces to that we can fulfill what he will for us.

God tells us, “Don’t be afraid!” We need not fear accepting new responsibilities, taking a stand for God, and carrying our cross.

If God walks with us, whom shall we fear? If we remain with him, how can we possibly miss our way to heaven?

Story: A child asks, “Mommy, how does God look like?”

“Well, God is good,” the mother answers. “He is very caring and loving. He is a good provider and is very protective.”

The little girl exclaims, “Now I know how God looks like. He is like Daddy!”

Challenge: In times of personal troubles and problems, crises and delicate choices. I will ask God for answers, for consolation and comfort. In decision making and planning, I will go first to God by prayer and reflective silence. (Most Rev. Ruperto C. Santos DD STL, Waiting and Working for Jesus, Makati: St. Pauls, 1999:150-151)

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PANAGINIP AT PANGAKO: Reflection for Chiristmas Novena – SIMBANG GABI Day 3 Year B – December 18, 2014

Isa ka ba sa mga naniniwala sa panaginip? Sabi ng mga matatanda ay huwag daw balewalain ang panaginip sapagkat  nagkakatotoo daw ito!  May kuwento na minsan ay magkasamang natutulog ang tatay at ang kanyang anak.  Nagising ang tatay sa malakas na ungol ng anak na nananaginip.  Biglang sumigaw ito: “Paalam, LOLO!”  Kinabukasan, nakatanggap sila ng masamang balita na namatay ang kanilang lolo.  “Hala! Nagkatotoo ang panaginip ng anak ko!”  Kinagabihan, habang sila’y natutulog ay nagising uli ang tatay sa ungol ng anak na nananaginip;  “Paalam… LOLA!”  Kinaumagahan, nakatanggap uli sila ng masamang balita na namatay din ang kanila lola.  “Ano ba ito?  Nagkakatotoo ang panaginip ng anak ko!”  At kinagabihan, muling nagsalita ang bata sa kanyang panaginip: “Paalam… TATAY!”  Kinabahan ang tatay.  Kinabukasan doble ang pag-iingat niya.  Hindi na siya umuwi pagkatapos ng trabaho dahil feel niya na safe siya sa office.  Nagpadrive siya sa company driver para iwas aksidente. Lahat ng kilos niya ay doble ingat para di madisgrasya.  Pag-uwi sa bahay ay sinalubong siya ng kanyang asawang umiiyak kasama ang kanyang anak. ” O ba’t ka umiiyak?  Buhay na buhay pa ako!”  sabi ng mister sa asawa.  “Darling… kasi namatay ang driver natin!”  At bumalik sa alaala niya ang sinabi ng kanyang anak noong nakaraang gabi: “Paalam… TATAY!!!”  hehehe…  Ang panaginip daw ay isang malaking misteryo. Mahirap ipaliwanag.  Minsan nagkakatotoo… minsan naman ay kabaliktaran ito!  May magagandang panaginip.  May tinatawag ding bangungot!  Sa Lumang Tipan ang panaginip ay tinatawag na “forgotten language of God” na kung saan ay ginagamit ito ng Diyos para makipag-usap sa tao.  Sa Bagong Tipan, ang panginip ay “katuparan ng mga pangako ng Diyos!”  Kaya nga nang managinip si Jose at sabihan siya ng anghel na huwag matakot tanggapin si Maria bilang kanyang asawa sapagkat ang pinaglilihi niya ay lalang ng Espiritu Santo,  ito ay hindi lamang karaniwang panaginip.  Ito ay pagsasakatuparan ng plano ng Diyos!  Ang pagsang-ayon ni Jose sa sinabi ng anghel sa panaginip ay nagpapakita ng pagtanggap na niya sa plano ng Diyos sa kanyang buhay.  Sinasang-ayunan ko rin ba ang plano ng Diyos sa aking buhay?  Ano ba ang trato ko sa Diyos kapag hindi niya naibibigay ang gusto ko at hindi naisasakutaparan ang plano ko?  Anuman ang plano ng Diyos sa iyo ay isa lang ang sigurado… nais ng Diyos na maging masaya ka ngayong Pasko!  Ibinigay Niyang regalo ang Kanyang bugtong na Anak upang maging maligaya tayo sa buhay natin dito sa lupa at hindi lang sa langit.  At kasama rin sa Kanyang plano na mabuhay tayo ng mabuti at ng may banal na pagkatakot sa Diyos!  Kapag sinusunod natin ang Kanyang mga utos, sa tuwing tayo ay gumagawa ng kabutihan, kapag namumhay tayo ng banal at marangal… isinasakatuparan natin ang PLANO NG DIYOS para sa atin.  Ang panaginip ay nagiging PANGAKO at ang pangako ay nagiging GANTIMPALA! Ipinaskil ni kalakbay ng kabataan

kiliti-ng-diyos.blogspot.com/2014/12/panaginip-at-pangako-reflection-for.html

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See:  Year I, Year II

Back to: December 18

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