First Reading: Isaiah 7: 10-14
The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.
- Can you imagine if God told you to ask for a sign?! There are thousands of people throughout history who have been given signs of faith by God. Saint Juan Diego was given such a sign 485 years ago (who’s feast day was Monday) through an apparition of Mary which is known today as Our Lady of Guadalupe.
- Have you ever been given a sign from God? If so, discuss.
- Do you know anyone who has been given a sign from God?
- Why is it that God chooses to give signs to some people and not everyone? Think of the people he has chosen to give signs, is there a pattern?
- Interesting side notes:
- It’s believed that the word Guadalupe was actually a Spanish mistranslation of the local Aztec dialect. The word that Mary probably used was Coatlallope which means “one who treads on snakes”!)
- The stars on Our Lady’s Mantle coincide with the constellation in the sky on December 12, 1531. All who have scientifically examined the image of Our Lady over the centuries confess that its properties are absolutely unique and so inexplicable in human terms that the image can only be supernatural!
- Though the dimensions are microscopic, the iris and the pupils of the image’s eyes have imprinted on them a highly detailed picture of at least 13 people. The same people are present in both the left and right eyes, in different proportions, as would happen when human eyes reflect the objects before them.
Second Reading: Romans 1: 1-7
Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,
called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God,
which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh,
but established as Son of God in power
according to the Spirit of holiness
through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel: 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.
- Growing up, I always assumed Christ was most influenced by his mother but last year I read a book called “Joseph the Silent” by Michel Gasnier which gave me a slightly different perspective. During the era and geography of the life of Christ, it is most likely he spent most of his days working with his father Joseph as an apprentice. The human side of Christ was more than likely shaped by Joseph.
- Who influenced you the most growing up? Who from your childhood do you think you most take after?
- How about your children, do you have a large enough influence in their life? Do they take after you at all? How can you continue to shape your children in the mold you want for them…the mold of your mentor, the mold that you consider to be the best version of yourself (I think I owe Matthew Kelly $1 for that), or better yet Joseph…and even Jesus Christ himself.
- The Catholic Encyclopedia citing the texts contained in the apocryphal writings writes that: When forty years of age, Joseph married a woman called Melcha or Escha by some, Salome by others; they lived forty-nine years together and had six children, two daughters and four sons, the youngest of whom was James (the Less, “the Lord’s brother”). A year after his wife’s death, as the priests announced through Judea that they wished to find in the tribe of Juda a respectable man to espouse Mary, then twelve to fourteen years of age. Joseph, who was at the time ninety years old, went up to Jerusalem among the candidates; a miracle manifested the choice God had made of Joseph, and two years later the Annunciation took place.