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.
Prayer: Lord, I come before you humbly. As one who
has frequently fallen into sin, I am aware of
my weakness. Your great love, though, assures me that
your grace can keep me on the path to holiness.
Lord, let me better imitate St. Joseph in the way
I deal with the people around me.
1. No Gloating:
Joseph was taken aback to learn that Mary was
expecting a baby. Here was a woman he always knew
to be beyond reproach. Legally he could have denounced
her publicly. Yet he didn’t. He was ready to
let the whole matter drop quietly, as if to give
Mary the benefit of the doubt. What a great
virtue this is: to think the best of others! It
reflects a heart of peace and calm. How many
friendships have ended ― indeed, how many wars have
started ― because people assumed the worst of someone else.
Have I ever judged the motives of someone else,
only to learn later that things were not as they
first appeared? To whom should I be giving the
benefit of the doubt?
2. Angelic Explanation: Notice that the angel
appears to Joseph only after he decides to do
the charitable thing and send Mary away quietly. So it
often goes in the spiritual life: God reveals more
of his plan to us only if we respond to
a crisis with charity. It is as if Jesus
says, “Treat others well and you will begin to
understand me better.” In a crisis, is charity my first
3. Jesus’ Portal: This Gospel passage could be called a
second Annunciation. At the first Annunciation, Mary said "yes"
to the angel. Now, Joseph’s "yes" was needed in
order to ensure that Jesus would have the appearance
of an earthly father (and a reputable lineage). Jesus
often wants to come back into the world, so to
speak, to touch lives: through a work of charity,
a word of kindness ― or even a new baby.
He counts on our help though. What help could
Jesus be asking of me so as to carry out
his plans? Could I be thwarting his plans because
of laziness, stubbornness, or selfishness? Is he asking me
to cooperate with someone? With a loved one? A
classmate? A co-worker?
Conversation with Christ: You wonderfully invite me to
help you in your mission to save souls, Lord.
You respect my freedom, and you want me to respond
out of love. Let me appreciate that truth fully,
and let me be generous with you.
Resolution: I will agree
to one request (big or small) today to help
By Father Edward McIlmail, LC