The birth of our Lord Jesus Christ
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - December 22, 2019 - 12:00am

We are now in the 4th Sunday of Advent and in three days, it is going to be the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. During my catechism show with Fr. Lucas Inoc, one of the biggest questions I asked him is why do Christians celebrate the birth of Christ that happened 2,000 years ago? His reply was simple; it is like all of us celebrating our birthday every year, except that Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Christ from the time he was born to the present day.

As we all know, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ was prophesied by Isaiah that the “Virgin shall give birth to a son and name him Emmanuel,” meaning God with us. This birth of the Son of God saved all mankind from the errors of our first parents Adam and Eve, who lost Paradise for us, and by being born like us, except in sin, our Lord Jesus Christ redeemed us from our wrath and allowed us to enter life eternal with God. Today’s gospel reading comes from Matt.1:18-24 on the birth of Jesus.

“8 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife.”

* * *

As we already read many versions from our evangelists about the announcement of the birth of Christ, when the angel Gabriel made his announcement before the Virgin Mary. However, our gospel reading is about the angel Gabriel appearing before St. Joseph who was disturbed that his betrothed was with child, while he did not have any carnal relations with her. Of course, ordinary people talk about a situation like what we see in today’s times when a man realizes that his betrothed is pregnant. Many believe that St. Joseph’s reaction was perfectly normal.

For many years I too had the same opinion, until I took a retreat and the retreat master talked about this case used the very same words in today’s gospel reading, “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” But the priest from St. John’s Priory who was a very holy man told us that we should not think of this situation like we have it today. He pointed out what was written about St. Joseph who was “a just man” and expounded on what it meant by being a just man.

He opened our eyes to what St. Joseph really had in mind that sort of disturbed him; that as a just man, he too anticipated the prophecy of Isaiah and had a difficult time accepting that the virgin mentioned in the prophecy would be his beloved wife, Mary. This is why the angel Gabriel appeared in his dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

When he woke up, St. Joseph did what the angel told him. His thoughts on this was that his betrothal to Mary would have disturbed the plan of God for her and the angel Gabriel’s appearing to St. Joseph in his dream was telling him that God included him in his plan.

vsbobita@gmail.com

LORD JESUS CHRIST
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