Got a few great things coming up:
First – at the doors you’ll find a wide assortment of CD’s and books – some of which are new titles you probably haven’t seen yet. This is a great chance to pick up some Faith-filled stocking stuffers for only a $3 donation. Check it out after Mass.
Second – We’re starting a new Bible Study on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month – first Thurs at SC, 3rd Thurs at SR. And – we’ll offer babysitting! More info in the bulletin, or contact me.
Third – Everyone is encouraged to have their homes blessed. Fr Eugene and I have left several evenings open in January and February. Call the parish office to schedule your blessing. More details in the bulletin (if not this week, it will be there next week)
OK – getting down to business of the day. If you summed up today’s Gospel, this would be it: Joseph Did as the Angel commanded. … if that was the whole story, we could all go home now… but there is SOOO much more to the story... So much more than you and I get in this short little snipit. Try to put yourself into Joseph’s shoes as we listen today and we’ll talk about it in the Homily.
Every eye turned when Joseph walked into the local tavern – Joseph NEVER walks into the tavern… ESPECIALLY at 10 am! Most lost some interest in him when he ordered a glass of kosher milk. He sat in a dark corner – obviously in deep thought. By evening, He was on his sixth glass of milk. The other patrons kept glancing over at him as he sat there mostly with his eyes closed… he would mutter to himself once in a while – then shake his head and mutter NO loud enough that everyone could hear. Then he’d take a drink and go back to thinking. What was he thinking?
This is bad… really bad. My life was all planned out! I finished my carpentry apprenticeship a few years ago; my business is starting to take off to where I could support a family: I’ve developed a reputation for quality work at a fair price. Speaking of reputation: I am son of David’s line – I’m in good-standing at the synagogue –all in all, My life’s plan was all in order!
Until a few months ago – as my parents were arranging the marriage to a young girl from town, I was excited. I knew who she was… pretty… smart… and very devoted to God, which will be good for my reputation as well. But before she would agree to marry, she asked to talk with me and she explained that she had taken a perpetual vow of chastity.
Say WHAT? As you can expect, that set me back a bit… OK, more than a bit. I mean – what man marries a woman who has made a vow like that?! I almost walked out immediately, but she kept talking… there was something DIFFERENT about her: the way she talked about God was so sincere and heart-felt and convincing, that I knew regardless of that vow, this is the woman I need to spend my life with. THIS woman was going to bring me closer to God. For the first time in my life, I found something so precious, I’d do anything to be with her – including throwing out my own life plans of a family and taking my own vow of chastity. So the betrothal was completed and we started making marriage plans.
After that little roadbump – everything was going according to plan – until…. this morning. She tells me she’s going to have A BABY!! You can imagine how I felt… I was Angry! She convinced me to take the vow of chastity with her and then she goes with another man?!!?! Anger doesn’t describe it… more than anything, I was hurt…. I felt like a fool…This woman had me truly convinced that she was a Godly woman, and I was really looking forward to our life together… but she was a fake… a liar… a cheat. Not only that, but what will the people think of me? My reputation is going to be ruined. I might even have to move to another town and start over. What’s worse, Mary is going to be stoned and her entire family’s reputation will be destroyed. Once I make it public that this child is not mine, she’ll be taken into the public square and stoned to death. It’s God’s LAW that we should do so… but still… there’s reason to doubt. See – she told me – she INSISTED… that she had NOT been with another man – but – (shakes head) – I almost can’t say it with a straight face – she CLAIMS that the Holy Spirit impregnated her. (shakes head) I thought she was so young and innocent and truthful and Godly, but she expects me to believe THAT?
No …That’s too much to believe…. No… the right thing would be to take her to the public square –
Shakes head…. but I can’t do that… she’s just an innocent young girl. Instead, I’ll just quietly end the betrothal – then she’ll be free to marry the real father. It’s her only chance of avoiding being stoned.
What a colossal mess! He laid his head down on the table – not even realizing how tired he was from agonizing about this all day. Next thing he knew an angel appeared to him… he was scared to death!!! The angel sat down at the same table with a glass of kosher milk and talked in a low, steady voice: Joseph – you are a righteous son of David. God sent me here so that you would understand what Mary told you is true…. The Baby to be born IS the Son of God – conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary did not lie… she has remained faithful to her vow and to you. Do not be afraid, Joseph. If you will accept the job, God wants you to be part of His plan. You will be the protector of the Messiah and His mother.
Suddenly Joseph woke up, feeling a mix of fear and excitement: It was true! Mary really WAS the Godly woman he thought she was! What’s more, did he understand that right??? HE had been chosen to play a role in God’s plan of salvation?! What had started as the worst day of his life suddenly turned around and he saw this colossal interruption by God as the source for the greatest blessing of his life and for that matter, it was bigger than that: This was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy…this was huge for the life of Israel.. this was colossal!
See what I mean? Joseph did what the angel commanded… but there is SOOO much more to the story. Joseph was human – and he had to struggle with all of the emotions and decisions that you and I would have to deal with in that situation.
God wants to invade your life plans with a colossal interruption. God has chosen you and me to play a role in bringing His salvation to the world! And how will you and I react?
No way – doesn’t fit into MY plans for MY life.
See we all have our plans – and anything that gets in the way of OUR plans we get rid of as soon as possible: we get a headache, we take a pill. Our wife doesn’t give us the respect we deserve, so we get rid of her and get a new one. A baby shows up by surprise… we run over to Planned Parenthood to have that little mess cleaned up….
In the 21st Century, we are in so much control of our lives that anytime God tries to invade our plans with His Grace, we stop it as quickly as we can… because it’s not in OUR plan.
Imagine the blessings God could dump on the earth if, like Joseph, we would throw our plans out the window and let God make our life plans.