Dec 17, 2023
(Jer.23:5-8; Ps.72:1,7,12-13,18-19; Mt.1:18-24)
“He will save His people from their sins.”
Each of our readings today mentions the salvation of our Lord. The above quote is from our gospel; our psalm states, “The lives of the poor He shall save”; and in our first reading it says, “In His days Judah shall be saved.” The very name “Jesus” – as given to Joseph by the angel of the Lord – means “God saves”. The great God of the universe, the living God who has brought us all to birth, comes among us, “is with us” (“Emmanuel”) to save us, to redeem us, to bring us back to our “own land”… to be again with the Father.
And this “righteous shoot to David,” this king who “shall reign and govern wisely,” who “shall do what is right and just in the land,” is born from above, not below. As the angel also tells Joseph, “It is by the Holy Spirit that [Mary] has conceived this child.” The Virgin is with child! Alleluia! A greater sign, a more complete love from the Father we could not imagine. And so we sing with our psalmist: “Blessed forever be His glorious name; may the whole earth be filled with His glory.” Indeed, all nations, not only Judah, shall be saved by this Blessed Child.
“The days are coming,” brothers and sisters, and are already here. The Lord walks among us. The Child has been born, and is being born in each of us; and as a people He comes to us. Mary “bore a son”; Joseph named Him “Jesus”, as instructed, and Jesus He is – His salvation has come forth. You must receive Him into your home with the Mother who bore Him. You must have faith that He is from above. Let Joseph be your model in care for the Savior, and He shall care for you for all eternity. Like Mary, nourish the Lord every day of your life.
His love is growing in us all. His presence is becoming known. The promised of the ages dwells with us with His justice, and His kingdom is being built as we speak. No more will our sins condemn us. No more will we hide our faces from the Lord. We shall be free once more, and this time forever, for the Lord has heard the cry of the poor.
O LORD, since your Son is with us,
we may now make our home in you –
praise you for your justice!
YHWH, your Son saves us from our sins. For this you have sent Him among us; for this He has been conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary – it is for this He has been born a Man. O let be accomplished that for which He has come!
From Egypt you rescued your enslaved sons. From the land of the North you brought them back to their home. From all sin you now deliver all men, beginning with the Jew. O LORD, you hear us when we cry out – let us cry out to you that this day we might be saved. Let us welcome your Son into our home, that in Him we might find our eternal union with you.
O LORD, let the earth be filled with your glory! This is your will, this is your desire… this is the goal to which all your Creation is straining. Speak to us this day that we might know the way you would lead us, and let us follow the angel’s word to freedom in the reign of Jesus.