Theme of the Sunday: Jesus, the “God With Us.” All three readings are centered on Isaiah’s prophecy about the birth of the son of a virgin (first reading). The second reading shows the happiness and joy of Paul at being able to announce this good news to all. This prophecy is taken up by Matthew in the Gospel to tell us that it is fully accomplished in Jesus. He is the true “God with us.”
A reading from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 7:10-14)
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive.”
In those days: The Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheolor high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM (Psalm 24: 1-2.3-4ab.5-6 (R. cf. 7c.10c)
R/. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world, and all who dwell in it.
It is he who set it on the seas;
on the rivers he made it firm. R/.
Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The clean of hands and pure of heart,
whose soul is not set on vain things. R/.
Blessings from the Lord shall he receive,
and right reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the people who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. R/.
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans 1 : 1-7)
Jesus Christ, descended from David, is the Son of God.
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the Gospel of God which he promised before hand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, the Gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA (Matthew 1:23)
Alleluia. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son;
and his name shall be called Emmanuel: God is with us.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 1:18-24)
Jesus was born of Mary who was betrothed to Joseph, the son of David.
The birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
For the struggling individual, what is God’s will? How does he recognize it and what is one expected to do when God’s will is manifested? In the Gospel of today we see both Mary and Joseph exposed to what it means to accept God’s will in one’s life. For Mary, she has to expose herself to a gross misunderstanding in the public eye. For joseph, he was put into a dicey situation; the woman he trusts is pregnant outside of him. Yet in all these we find God protecting the interest of all who willingly accept his will for them. Through the Lord’s intervention the situation is amicably solved without involvement of outsiders.
Lord, give us the grace to accept your will in our lives, trusting that you will never abandon us, even when accepting your will exposes us to possible public danger or ridicule.