Saturday, December 17, 2016

Fourth Sunday of Advent - God Wants to Send His Son for Me

This 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. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such 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 into your home. For it is though the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife into his home.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I see how much it means to you to come into this world. Help me to grow in my love for you, recognizing how much you want to do for me. 

Petition:Lord, help me to prepare myself for your coming this Christmas.

1. Lord, What Is Your Will? Joseph is concerned about his wife-to-be. He wants to do the right thing; his intentions are pure. He does not know what Mary conceiving through the power of the Holy Spirit will mean to others. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary’s womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: ‘The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second is from heaven.’ From his conception, Christ’s humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God ‘gives him the Spirit without measure’” (no. 504). However, Joseph is not aware of all of this, and he thinks to himself, “What will they think of her?” “What will they think of me?” “I want to do what is right, but what is the right thing?” He knows what a great young woman Mary is, and he does not want to harm her. How hard it is to know what is to be done! 

2. Don’t Be Afraid God wants this to happen. This is part of his plan of salvation, and to ensure it, he sends an angel. “Do not be afraid to take Mary into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her” (Matthew 1:20). God want this for us. God wants us to be a part of him by the birth of his Son through a virgin mother. “Mary’s virginity manifests God’s absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. ‘He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which he assumed…. He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures’” (CCC, 504). God entering the world as man comes exclusively from God himself. Man does nothing to facilitate or expedite the Incarnation. God reveals that this is his plan for us. He wants it; he is in total control.

3. God Comes for Me. “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,’ which means, ‘God is with us’” (Matthew 1:22-23). God chose to send his Son into the world so that we might have eternal life. God thinks of our redemption, and so he sends Christ into the world. “When Christ became incarnate and was made man, he recapitulated in himself the long history of mankind and procured for us a ‘short cut’ to salvation, so that what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the image and likeness of God, we might recover in Christ Jesus” (CCC, 518). Christ comes to save us because he loves us. He comes so that we may have life and have it in abundance. He has come to show us the way to salvation. 

Dialogue with Christ: Lord, you have thought so much of me that you did not want me to go astray. You came so that I may experience you in heaven, by your own free will. How much love you have for me to think of me, as you come into the world again!

Resolution: I will make a special act of thanksgiving after receiving communion today for what Christ is doing for me by coming into the world.

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