Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Jesus, the one also called Immanuel, “God with us,” is born of a virgin as promised of old. In this week’s Gospel reading, Matthew lays out his case that all of God’s work of redemption is according to the promise of God. It is not based on any sort of human merit or ability to work something out. From the miraculous pregnancy of Mary to the vision Joseph has of an angel, the hand of God is portrayed for us.
What is our natural reaction to divine intervention? It is normally fear. What is the promise of the angel? Joseph does not need to fear. All will be well. This does not mean that it will all be easy. After all, Joseph, who was expecting to marry a young woman and have a normal family, will suddenly find himself marrying a young woman who is suspected of infidelity. He himself will face trouble in his reputation because of that. He also has the challenge of being a parent to someone who is announced to him as the Son of God. As events unfold, he becomes an international refugee due to the hostility toward his family. He will live for years in doubt as to their security and future.
The angel tells Joseph that he does not need to fear. All will be well. This child will be “God with us.” We have that same comfort. The child Immanuel grew up to reconcile the world and God. There is nothing to fear. He has conquered even death. He, the firstfruits of the resurrection, wishes to be the firstborn among many to be raised in the last day. All will be well.
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