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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

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Jeremiah 23:5-8
Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19
Matthew 1:18-25

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miraculous birth

"She is to have a Son and you are to name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins." —Matthew 1:21

What better way could "God be with us" (Mt 1:23) than to become one like us? Jesus' birth is the most blessed event of all. Matthew's Gospel ends with the words: "And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!" (Mt 28:20) Between verses 1:23 and 28:20, Matthew tells us that the whole purpose of writing his Gospel is to show how "God is with us" in His Son Jesus.

Jeremiah had looked forward to the righteous king. Accordingly, he prophesied, "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous Shoot to David" (Jer 23:5). The purpose of this righteous Shoot is to save (Jer 23:6). The name Jesus means Savior. Therefore, both Jeremiah and Matthew are speaking about Jesus as Savior.

So often we forget that it is in Jesus we find salvation — not in money, not in family, not in work. We must have our priorities right before God. Jesus is the divine Son of Mary conceived through the power of the "Holy Spirit" (Mt 1:20). He is the "Emmanuel" (Mt 1:23), for He is God present to us.

We must learn to obey the divine command as Joseph did. Joseph did what God wanted him to do (Mt 1:24). Both Joseph and Mary are presented to us as models of what is entailed in salvation — obeying God's word (Lk 1:38; Mt 1:24). Jesus was born so that we might become obedient unto Him and thus obedient unto the Heavenly Father.

Prayer:  "Mary said: 'I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say' " (Lk 1:38).

Promise:  "He shall rescue the poor man when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him." —Jn 3:17

Praise:  "O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, Who showed Yourself to Moses in the burning bush, Who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out Your mighty hand to set us free."

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 27, 2012

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