Faith Daily | 17 December 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - Advent Three APBA p 468
you have made us and all things to serve you:
come quickly to save us,
so that wars and violence shall end
and your children may live in peace,
honouring one another with justice and love;
through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord,
who lives with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 1: 18-24
18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ 22All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’ 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Cheryl Courtice
How many times have you read/heard these verses?
I remember posing the tricky “Was Joseph really going to divorce Mary?” question to a Sunday School teacher!
However, if we come to this passage with fresh eyes and read it as if for the first time, we will find that what it stresses is not so much that Jesus was born of a woman who was a virgin, as that the birth of Jesus was the work of the Holy Spirit.” “She was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” “the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Said twice, as if underlined and in large print, pointing out that there is much more in this chapter than the crude fact that Jesus was born of a virgin mother.
The essence of Matthew’s story is that in the birth of Jesus, the Spirit of God was operative as never before in this world. It is the Spirit who brings God’s truth to men and women: it is the Spirit who enables them to recognise that truth when they see it: it is the Spirit who was God’s agent in the creation of the world; it is the Spirit who alone can re-create the human soul when it has lost the life it ought to have.
Jesus enables us to see what God is and what we ought to be: Jesus opens the eyes of our minds so that we can see the truth of God for us: Jesus is the creating power come among us; Jesus is the re-creating power which can release the souls of men and women from the death of sin.
What wonders to welcome this holy season. Thanks be to God.
FINAL PRAYER: APBA p472
whose eternal Word took flesh among us
when Mary placed her life at the service of your will:
prepare our hearts for his coming again
and keep us steadfast in hope,
that we may be ready for the coming of his kingdom;
for his sake, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.