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IV Sunday Of Advent

«Do not hesitate to receive Mary in your home»

Mt 1, 18-24

Accepting Jesus in our lives, really assuming what he proposes, is not so simple. However, bewilderment, difficulty and even scandal can be overcome. The Mystery of the Incarnation will always cause amazement and doubt, it is a mystery that we will never exhaust. The Gospel of this Sunday presents in a simple but profound way the meaning of this mystery.

San Mateo describes with enough sobriety the situation of San José, does not detail the doubts and natural anguish before such reality, because the fiance turns out to be pregnant. According to Deuteronomy, if a man marries a woman and it turns out that she is not a virgin, if she denounces her, “they will take the young woman to the door of the paternal house and the men of the city will stone her until she dies, for having committed in Israel the infamy of prostituting the paternal house ”(Dt 22,20ss). Joseph prefers to interpret the law in the most benevolent way. The law allows to denounce, but does not oblige to do so. Therefore, he decides to repudiate Mary in secret so as not to infaminate her.

Upon arriving at this moment, the angel that solves the problem appears. Saint Joseph obeys, and the virgin Mary gives birth to a son whom Saint Joseph names Jesus. In this final section, between the words of the angel and the obedience of Joseph, Saint Matthew introduces a few words to explain the mystery: it is about fulfilling the prophecy of Is 7,14.

Saint Matthew has not tried to put us in tension, because from the beginning he has told us that everything is the work of God. So what do you intend to tell us with this episode? Three fundamental things about the protagonist of his work.

Who is Jesus? At the beginning of the gospel, in genealogy, Mt has just told us that he is a true Israelite and a true descendant of David. Does it mean it is the Messiah? For that something more is needed according to the tradition of certain Jewish groups. The Messiah must be born of a virgin, as announced in Is 7,14. This episode shows that Jesus meets that requirement. But there is another fact that does not contain the text of Isaiah: Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit, with which he wants to express his close relationship with God.

What will Jesus do? His name indicates it: saving his people from sins. Saving from sins is not the same as forgiving sins. Forgiving sins can be done comfortably, sitting in the confessional, or even walking or drinking coffee. Saving from sins can only be done by offering one's own life. We know from children that Jesus, to save us from our sins, gave his life for us. But it must not cease to amaze us. Because the normal attitude of a pious Jew to sin is not to understand or justify it, much less die for the sinner. It is to condemn it.

What repercussions does its appearance have? Mt, in writing his gospel, part of the experience of his community, persecuted and rejected for accepting Jesus as Messiah. Mt tells you from the beginning that the difficulties are normal. Even the people most linked to the Messiah, their own parents, suffer problems since it is conceived. The Christian must see in Joseph a model that helps and encourages him. He should not be afraid to accept Jesus and follow him, because he "comes from the Holy Spirit" and "will save his people from sins."

Today too many doubt if not in word, if in practice. It is scary to live as Jesus proposes, it is difficult to assume his message. So on Christmas Eve, let's learn from the example of St. Joseph. A man who meditates, reflects and is docile to the inspiration of God. Only a life of prayer and intimate treatment with God will allow us to embrace the Gospel Proposal.

+Faustino Armendáriz Jiménez

Archbishop of Durango