A reading from the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:5-8)
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness I the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when men shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM ( Psalm 72: 1-2, 12-13, 18-19 (R. see 7)
R/. In his days shall justice flourish, and great peace forever.
O God, give your judgement to the king,
to a king’s son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice,
and your poor in right judgement. R/.
For he shall save the needy when they cry,
the poor, and those who are helpless.
He will have pity on the weak and the needy,
and save the lives of the needy. R/.
Blest be the Lord, God of Israel,
who alone works wonders,
ever blest his glorious name.
Let his glory fill the earth. Amen! Amen!. R/.
Alleluia. Alleluia. O Leader of the house of Israel! You gave the law to Moses on Sinai: come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
The beginning of the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 1 : 18-24)
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.
Today’s Gospel reading demonstrates in practical terms what it means not to judge others. Joseph has every right to expose Mary. But does not do so. His love for her does not allow him to expose her to public disgrace. Does this mean covering up sin or conniving with the evil one? Certainly the answer is no. it just means leaving final judgment for the Lord. In the case of Mary, she is innocent. That is why joseph’s option is a model for everyone. Human judgment can be terrible. Only the Lord, who knows the secret hearts of men, can pass the right judgment.
Lord, give us the ability to hate sin but to love the sinner.