Daily Gospel Reflection: Monday of the Third Week of Advent
Bishop Robert Barron
December 18, 2023
Monday of the Third Week 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. 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.
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel centers on one of the most beloved figures in Christian history: Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. He’s featured in countless works of art and is prominent in the devotional lives of many. Yet we know almost nothing about him. The scant verses here in Matthew offer the most extensive description, yet even they reveal some powerful spiritual themes.
First, we discover Mary was betrothed to Joseph and this union had been blessed by God. But then Joseph finds his betrothed is pregnant. Can you imagine the distress? This must have been an emotional maelstrom for him. And at a deeper level, it was a spiritual crisis. What did God want him to do?
But then an angel appears to him in a dream and tells him, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.” He realizes at that moment that these puzzling events are part of God’s much greater plan. What appears to be a disaster from his perspective is meaningful from God’s perspective.
Joseph was willing to cooperate with the divine plan, though he in no way knew its contours or deepest purpose. Like his wife, Mary, at the Annunciation, he trusted and let himself be led.