December 18, 2014
Thursday of the Third Sunday of Advent
Gospel Mt 1:18-25
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 your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” Humility will bring us down, really down, down to depths we have never gone before; and yet, not far enough to bring us to our treasure. Shock and wonder; that is, repentance and forgiveness, will take us up high, very high, but not high enough to take us to the top of where we’d like to be.
Obedience will take us far in life, but not far enough to take us all the way. So what will it take for us to make it all the way, over the hill and through the woods, to see what no eye has seen or ear has heard?
Unconditional love. Some atheist groups have been spending a lot of time and money this Christmas season on billboards and catchy slogans. They claim their goal is to promote “reason” among the feebleminded (a.k.a. the religious). I say it is to provoke anger among believers and free media for themselves.
Well, I am not surprised that their “reason” and “intelligence” has taken them to such record heights in their pride and such record depths in their vanity. Their campaign is doomed to fail and backfire because for most Christians, it was not only Christ’s wisdom that attracted them; but more importantly, Christ’s love that captured them. We all know that love is unreasonable, and that unconditional love is quite unfathomable, but only the humble minded and obedient have been adventurous enough to discover that love is more powerful than reason and works better (at bringing peace and solving problems) than any scientific eye has seen or academic ear has heard.
What makes Mary (Star of the sea) shine so bright? Her humility. What makes John the Baptist shine? His call to repentance and forgiveness. And now, as we get closer to Christmas (to Christ), we have another star: Joseph. What makes Joseph shine so bright? It is his faith and obedience.
Joseph! Take this woman, found with child, and marry her. Who needs the wise of this world when you can have the lover of this world! But make no mistakes about it; the Lord is wise, intelligent and very reasonable. But He did not let any of these things get in the way of Him being born in Bethlehem, in a stable, in poverty and in a time of recklessness and lawlessness.
The sun shines bright because it burns hydrogen into helium. The Son of God shines bright because He turns suffering and death into light and love. I will take both, every day, into my home.