December 18, 2020 – Friday, Third day of the Misa de Aguinaldo
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/121820.cfm)
Each of us might be waiting for something good to happen. Yet, we could have grown impatient because of waiting. But then, extend more our patience, God is preparing and it is coming. It really is. Just believe. But, why should we believe? Why risk in believing, in having faith in God? Well, because promises are made to be fulfilled.
Do you believe in this? Contrary to popular saying that “promises are made to be broken,” which applies to those who are bitter in their life, promises are indeed made to be fulfilled. So, please don’t be bitter, be better rather.
Promises are, certainly, made to be fulfilled. This what makes a promise, a promise. Using the philosophical language, “the very essence of a promise, is its fulfillment.” That is why, the very essence of the WORD is when it becomes FLESH. The very essence of what we speak and talk about, is when it becomes our action.
The very person of Jesus, our Lord, is the fulfillment of God’s promise. This promise of God started from the very beginning found in the Book of Genesis. When man and woman was driven out from paradise, God promised to be with them and to stay always with them. As God chose the people to be his own, God also promised to send a Savior, a Redeemer, a Messiah who will be with God’s people. This is what has been proclaimed in the first reading today. The Book of Jeremiah tells us that God proclaims his promise to save his people and give them security.
In fact, this points us to this “PROMISE OF GOD” that springs from the covenant made by God with humanity. The prophets told the people of this promise, the laws and decrees of God point also to this promise. The historical events and all those people in the Bible have prepared for the promise to be fulfilled.
So, what is this promise? Much better to ask, Who is this promise? He is the Emmanuel, the God who is with us. He is born from a virgin, the word that became flesh, he is JESUS, (whose names means “YAHWEH SAVES”.) JESUS, our Lord, is the very promise of the Father to us.
However, the fulfillment of the promise was tainted by a scandal of unfaithfulness and of a promise seemed to be broken. The arrival of Jesus seemed to be scandalous. This was the steaming aura at that time in the little town of Nazareth. In the ears of the neighbors of Joseph, what happened to Mary was scandalous. Mary and Joseph were already engaged but within that period of engagement Mary got (preggy) pregnant. The people in their village knew that Joseph was not the father. Joseph himself was confident that Mary’s child in her womb was not his. Joseph knew that the Jewish law would find Mary guilty of adultery. This was an act punishable by shame and death.
As it happens in small villages, Mary must have been a subject of gossips and fake news. Mary was judged without further investigation. The eyes and fingers of the people around her must have pointed and branded her to be a shame. In their eyes, the promise of the engagement was broken.
Joseph must have been in pain as well. He must have been confused and must have been very hurt. He must have felt betrayed. However, Joseph’s response to this was not out of anger or bitterness. In the heart of Joseph, he wanted to save Mary by divorcing her quietly. Joseph must have thought that Mary was in another relationship. To divorce her quietly will allow Mary to be engaged with the man who fathered the baby in her womb.
This difficult situation in Joseph, and the belief that he was betrayed, became the way for God to reveal the divine plan to this gentle and thoughtful man. God must have been waiting for the proper time when to reveal to Joseph the divine plan. Thus, when everything was in its place and when Joseph was ready enough, an angel revealed to Joseph the mind of God.
What Joseph realized in that deep dream was the fulfillment of what he was hoping for and the hope of all humanity, the joy of all. God’s presence made into flesh is that greatest joy of all, and the fulfillment of the promise because “Yahweh saves.”
From then on, Joseph saw and felt that what has been revealed to him was truly scandalous because God revealed Himself to him, because God has become man there in the womb of Mary just to be with us. It was scandalous because we thought that God is up there or out there in the heavens only, a place that no person can reach. But then Mary was preggy (pregnant). This blows our minds now, because through that unexpected pregnancy, God is telling us the He is intimately present with us. God is telling us that humanity can become pregnant with God.
Joseph understood that Mary’s pregnancy is a statement of God’s faithfulness and commitment to us. God commits himself to be our God. God commits himself to choose us as His people. This is God’s assurance to us now that he is present and he lives in the midst of our lives, in the midst of our pain, of our failures, of our disappointments, hurts and fears in order to bring to us His mercy, love and friendship.
What God is telling us now is this – that God chooses life and not death because God chooses to be born like us. God is telling us that he never gives up on us because His name is Jesus – the God who saves us. God is telling us that we are not alone in our difficulties because He is Emmanuel, the God who is with us who gives joy and hope.
May this reminds us now, that as God fulfills His promise to be with us and to be for us, we too are called to fulfill our commitments in our work or profession, among our friends and family, in our communities or organizations. May our commitment then, bring us into that realization that every time we fulfill our commitment, we also share in fulfilling God’s promise to be with us for we become God’s presence today. Hinaut pa.