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He had made up his mind.

 

He had made up his mind.    
     This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.  Her husband Joseph, being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally.  He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.”
     Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel,” a name which means “God-is-with-us”.  When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.


                                                                                       

Matthew 1:18- 24



Lectio

Do you believe that God has a plan for your life?  I invite you to look at the story of Joseph and Mary in this Gospel. It is easy to see that God had a plan for their lives; their story may help you to see God’s plan for your own life. 
     Joseph had plans: he would make a living as a carpenter, he would marry Mary and they would raise a family together in Nazareth. Things did not turn out as he expected.  He discovered that Mary was pregnant.  What he knew for certain was that he was not the father of her child.  Either he knew that the pregnancy was from the Holy Spirit and consequently felt unworthy to marry her, or he concluded that she must be pregnant for some one else, in which case the Law would not allow him to marry her.  Either way, his life was turned upside down and his plans were ruined.  He was a just and merciful man and made the agonizing decision that he would end their relationship as privately as possible. 

God’s ways are puzzling.    
Then God told him in a dream that the child was indeed conceived by the Holy Spirit and that he was to take Mary home as his wife; when the child was born, he was to name him.  God’s ways are puzzling: Joseph struggled with his painful dilemma and made as good and honest a decision as he could; it was only then that God guided him to make a completely different decision. God had a plan for Joseph that was far bigger than the plans Joseph had, but that did not free Joseph from the struggle to find out what he had to do.    

 

Your own story.    
There is no other story like this story, yet you may find that your own story is a little like it.  If you are married you will remember the plans you had at the time of your wedding.  It is likely that things did not work out as you expected.  Situations may have arisen that you could not have foreseen. Yet in times of uncertainty you tried to be fair and to be merciful.  Even if your marriage was far from perfect, you may be able to say with confidence that it brought love into the world - in a real sense it brought Jesus into the world.
     If you are a parent, you may have faced unexpected situations as Joseph and Mary did. Things happened in the lives of your children that you could not have foreseen.  I think of young parents whose child is born with a physical or mental disability.  They experience shock and grief, and it may seem that their dreams for their child are shattered. But like St. Joseph they are determined to do what is fair and loving.  As time passes they may discover that this child brings a special presence of Jesus into their family.
     As you look at the work you have done or are doing, you may also see that God had a plan for your working life.  All honest work that we do serves the needs of others as well as our own needs, and it usually makes the world a better place. But here too there are surprises: working conditions change, work places close down.  You may look back and see that the unpredictable changes and crises led sooner or later to blessings for you and for others.  Humbly and confidently you may be able to say: my work brought God into the world.
     God’s plan for Joseph and Mary was to bring Jesus into the world and to nurture him.   His plan for each of us, and for all of us together, is to bring Jesus into our world and to nurture him there.

Brendan Clifford



Prayer:

Father, all-powerful God,
your eternal Word took flesh on our earth
when the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph placed their lives
at the service of your plan.
Lift our minds in watchful hope
to hear the voice which announces his glory,
and open our minds to receive the Spirit
who prepares us for his coming.



 

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