Chosen Above All Women

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”
(Matthew 1:18-23)

Scripture Study

1:18 Betrothed to Joseph: betrothal was the first part of the marriage, constituting a man and woman as husband and wife. Subsequent infidelity was considered adultery. The betrothal was followed some months later by the husband’s taking his wife into his home, at which time normal married life began.

1:19 A righteous man: as a devout observer of the Mosaic law, Joseph wished to break his union with someone whom he suspected of gross violation of the law. It is commonly said that the law required him to do so, but the texts usually given in support of that view, e.g., Dt 22:20–21 do not clearly pertain to Joseph’s situation. Unwilling to expose her to shame: the penalty for proved adultery was death by stoning; cf. Dt 22:21–23.

1:20 The angel of the Lord: in the Old Testament a common designation of God in communication with a human being. In a dream: see Mt 2:13, 19, 22. These dreams may be meant to recall the dreams of Joseph, son of Jacob the patriarch (Gn 37:5–41:19). A closer parallel is the dream of Amram, father of Moses, related by Josephus (Antiquities 2, 9, 3; (par.) 212, 215–16).

1:21 Jesus: in first-century Judaism the Hebrew name Joshua (Greek Iēsous) meaning “Yahweh helps” was interpreted as “Yahweh saves.”

1:23 God is with us: God’s promise of deliverance to Judah in Isaiah’s time is seen by Matthew as fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, in whom God is with his people. The name Emmanuel is alluded to at the end of the gospel where the risen Jesus assures his disciples of his continued presence, “… I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). 

Scripture Reflection

In celebrating the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary today, we recognize that she was chosen to be the Mother of Jesus and by extension the Mother of all human beings. This role she played and has continued to play even as she is in heaven with God. She took good care of Jesus from birth until death and she never faltered in her maternal role.

Mary was focused on her mission and she played her role well till the end. She gave birth to a Son who was focused also and played His role, of bringing us salvation, till the end. So today we enjoy the liberation and salvation He has given us by virtue of His suffering, death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.

Like Mary, we have all been chosen by God to fulfill different purposes in life. We must be ready to let Him work in us and through us to bring the purpose of which He has chosen us to full realization. We must give God a chance in our lives and we must let Him rule and guide us. We must be ready to do God’s will at all times and God will be glorified and praised through our service.

– Fr. Austin Eleke

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.