Advent, 18th December, Friday

Jeremiah 23:5-8 / Matthew 1:18-24 

Jeremiah prophesies: A descendant of David will rule as king. 

A king who had no sons to succeed him posted a sign inviting young men in his kingdom to become his adopted son and rule after him. There were only two qualifications.

The boy must love God and neighbor deeply. A young peasant boy felt moved to apply, but he lacked decent clothes for the interview. Finally, he saved enough money for the clothes. As the boy neared the palace, he came upon a shivering old man begging for clothes. The boy was moved to pity and gave the beggar the clothes he had brought for the interview. Then the boy went on to the castle, wondering if he would be admitted in rags. The boy did gain admittance. When he came to the throne room, he couldn’t believe his eyes. On the throne sat the shivering old man. The king smiled and said, “Welcome, my son.”


How generous are we to those in need? The shivering child in the manger turned out to be the King of Kings.


When the kings of God’s people had not fulfilled their mission of guiding the people to God, the prophet Jeremiah announces that God would do a way with them and become himself the shepherd of his people. But he will make this new beginning through a man, a virtuous shoot of the house of David. Through him, God would become his people’s integrity, the cause of our fidelity.

In the New Testament, as Matthew tells us, Jesus is this Son of David through Joseph and Mary and at the same time, God’s own Son. He is indeed “God our integrity,” and Immanuel, “God-with-us,” Jesus, whose name means “Savior.”


Most of us would consider ourselves as a common average person. We don't expect to become someone famous and popular, nor become someone of high importance like being the President or the Prime Minister, or the Pope or the Bishop. Most of us would consider ourselves to be like Joseph, who makes an honest living with his carpentry skills, puts his faith in God and is a man of honour. Like the people of his time, Joseph was also waiting for the promise of the Messiah to be fulfilled. But did Joseph expect it to be fulfilled during his time? And did he ever expect that he would have an important role in this fulfillment of the promise of God?

Obviously it would be "No". In fact, when Mary was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit, Joseph being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally.

Yet Joseph accepted the will of God through the promptings in a dream. We may not have dreams like Joseph to tell us what God wants of us. But we have the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures to guide us to discern God's will. And we also have Jesus, the Emmanuel, who will be with us to help us be the person that God wants us to be.


 Opening Prayer

Lord, faithful God, in Jesus, you have given us someone taken from our human flesh and blood, a man, yet your Son, through whom you want to restore integrity and fidelity among us. With him, help us to give to you and also to one another, the proper and adequate response of faithful, serving love, that you expect from your people. Be our God for ever through Jesus Christ, our Lord.