Monday, 18 December 2017 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scriptures telling us more about the prophecy of the coming Saviour of the world, as we are now just about one week away from the celebration of Christmas. In today’s first reading, we heard again yet another of God’s promise to us mankind, that He would raise up for us a King and Saviour, the Son and Heir of David, Who would save the people and restore them to God’s loving grace.

And then in the Gospel passage, we heard about St. Joseph, the one who was betrothed to Mary, the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Joseph found out that Mary had become pregnant before they were married, and therefore, by the custom of the Jewish people at the time, she probably had committed adultery with another man prior to her marriage. But St. Joseph was a devout and just man, who was mentioned in the Gospel as someone who would not want to disgrace Mary, her betrothed.

If we read in the Gospels, we would notice one occasion when the Pharisees brought a woman caught in the act of adultery and asked His advice whether she was to be blamed and stoned for her sin. That was how the people committing adulterous behaviour was treated at the time, and the same fate would likely have happened to Mary had St. Joseph revealed her pregnancy out of marriage. Why did he not do that? That is because, likely St. Joseph doubted that Mary could have committed adultery, given her piety and righteous upbringing.

Then, an Angel of God appeared to St. Joseph in a dream, revealing the same truth and God’s Good News that Gabriel the Archangel had delivered to Mary. Mary was pregnant because of God’s will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, bearing the Son of God within her. He is the Messiah or Saviour of the world which God had promised through His prophets, including through the prophet Jeremiah, in our first reading today.

St. Joseph accepted the role which God had entrusted him with, to be the foster-father and the legal father of the Messiah. St. Joseph was born into the family of David, the heir of the long empty throne of the king of Israel. And therefore, through St. Joseph, Jesus Christ is the Heir of David, as prophesied by God through Jeremiah. And through Our Lord Jesus, the salvation of this world has come.

Therefore, there are two things that we should take note today, as we reflect on what we have just heard and discussed with the Scripture passages of this day. First of all, we should always keep in mind, that Christmas is the celebration of Our Lord’s birth into this world, the Messiah long prophesied by the prophets, and finally came into the world. He is the Light of the world Who dispels the darkness of sin and death.

And as our Christmas celebrations are approaching fast, we should prepare ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually that we may be able to celebrate Christmas meaningfully, filled with faith and genuine understanding of its importance for us. Otherwise, we may end up losing the focus of our joy and celebrations, becoming more of a revelry and fun, but without knowing why we do so.

Then secondly, we should follow the examples of St. Joseph, the faithful servant of God, who have willingly embraced the role entrusted to him by the Lord. Our Lord Jesus might not be his biological Son, but St. Joseph loved him and protected Him much as his own Son, together with Mary as the Holy Family, as examples for Christian families everywhere. He protected Mary and the Baby Jesus at the time of her pregnancy, His birth, then exile to Egypt when king Herod wanted to kill Jesus, and then helped to bring up the young Jesus.

We should follow his examples, in his great faith, his upright and just attitude, and in his loving commitment to those whom he loved. As Christians we should devote ourselves in the same way, and seek to do our best to live in accordance with our faith. Let us all seek to be ever closer to God, so that we may be worthy of Him when He comes again at the end of time, to judge all of us. May we always walk in the grace of God. Amen.

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