Dec 18 2020 Reflection
Friday 18 December 2020
First Reading: JER 23:5-8
Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
PS 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19
Gospel Reading: MT 1:18-25
Today’s Note: Friday of the Third Week of Advent
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.
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 the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child 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 had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.
The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. (Matthew 1:20)
Dreams can be happy, scary, or strange—if we can even remember them! Because dreams often don’t make sense, it’s no surprise that most of us don’t take them seriously, much less make major life decisions based on them. Yet that’s exactly what St. Joseph did.
Today’s Gospel reading tells us about the first time this happened, when an angel in a dream told Joseph to take Mary as his wife, even though she was pregnant with a child that was not his. Then, after Jesus’ birth, Joseph was told in a dream to “flee to Egypt” rather than return to Nazareth (Matthew 2:13). This decision allowed the Holy Family to escape the detection of Herod, who was looking to kill the Christ child.
There must have been something very unusual and convincing about Joseph’s dreams for him to follow them. But still, as powerful as those dreams were, he must have still had doubts. Was it crazy to think that they were really from God? Maybe people around him questioned his judgment. It would have been a leap of faith to take Mary as his wife and then, later, leave family and friends behind to start a new life in a foreign country. These choices took Joseph in directions that were completely unexpected and unplanned. But Joseph trusted God, and the world is different because of it.
When you have a big decision to make, you can trust God to help you, just as Joseph did. Look for the signs that he may put in your path. They may not be as obvious as a vivid dream, but he has other ways to reach you—maybe through the advice of a good friend or with a passage of Scripture that tugs on your heart. And if you’re still not sure what to do, trust that God will guide you along whatever path you take. If you seek his guidance and try your best to follow him, God will not condemn you, even if things don’t work out the way you planned. He will still continue to bless you. That’s how faithful and loving he is.
“God, help me to discern your plans for me.”