December 18, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent 

Matthew 1:18-25

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.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

Reflection (Sem. Herwyn Bulaun):

            We are now approaching one of the most awaited celebrations of the year, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today we read the reaction of St. Joseph, the human father of Jesus, whom the angel spoke with through a dream. The angel said to him that the fruit of the womb of Mary is of Divine origin and will be the savior of the world. St. Joseph listened to the angel and took care of Mary.

            St. Joseph played a great role in the plan of salvation.  However, it is noticeable that he did not speak much in the Gospel. I cannot remember if there is one single event that St. Joseph spoke in the whole Gospel. In his silence, he obeyed God and played his role well. In this third day of our simbang gabi I will reflect on the three things that happen to me whenever I put myself into silence.

            First, in silence I can truly hear myself. For instance whenever I receive a feedback from members of the community, initially it would only register into my mind without further realization and internalization.  However, the moment I silenced myself and reflected on the feedback I can understand more what happened and why a brother gave such feedback. It will result into deeper understanding of personal dynamics. As many say that in silence our senses talk to the deepest part of our soul.

            Second, in silence I can really hear my neighbor. When I am in real silence I can hear my neighbor talking to me as a brother or sister. There is no judgment rather compassion. In silence also instead of searching what is wrong on the person, the focus is to understand the situation.

            Finally, in silence I believe I can really hear God. Some spiritual experts have said that only in true silence that God speaks to us. It’s a process where in a person will focus himself on God alone. That person will free himself from any disturbances and other petitionary prayers. During our Maturing the Child Within retreat, I appreciated the silence that we exercised. It was an environment where I, with all my weaknesses, God communicates to me and accepts me.

            I believe the challenge of one of the characters of St. Joseph is for us to find some time to really silence ourselves in the midst of noise in our busy world. A time when we can really listen to ourselves, neighbors and most importantly to God.

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