A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 1:18-24
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 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 had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
REFLECTION: "She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
God Himself will save us!!
Arranging our home manger with the menagerie of camels, cows, dogs and lambs that are awaiting the arrival of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I am reminded of the bummer lamb.
In the sheep industry, once an ewe rejects her lamb, she will never change her mind. Any attempt by the lamb to get close to his mother is met with rejection, in fact head butting the lamb and letting it starve. Most times the lamb refuses to eat as a reaction to his mother not wanting him. If there is no intervention, the lamb will die. If this bummer lamb is to survive it will be through lots of love and affection from the shepherd. The bummer lambs recognize the voice of the shepherd and under his care they flourish. They run to him because they not only know they are loved but they have experienced his love.
Had Joseph rejected Mary she would have suffered death as her penalty for her pregnancy. Joseph felt rejected by Mary when he learned she was pregnant. And he was tempted to divorce her quietly until the Angel intervened in a dream. The Angel announced, "She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." He was God Himself coming down to save us.
Jesus, the Good shepherd, will come to earth to deliver us. We have done nothing for this love and affection. We all are injured, bummer lambs. As we enter these last few days of Advent, may we be reminded that He loves us without reason and will die to save us.
God Bless You