By Abbot John Pereira OSB
“This is how Jesus Christ came to be born.”
Next Sunday, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but God is always seeking to be born again and to break through into our lives. God is always trying to be born.
The medieval Dominican theologian, Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328) once said, “What good is it to me if Mary gave birth to the Son of God fourteen hundred years ago if I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and culture?”.
God will be born in our hearts when we begin to dwell in the heart of God. And this is the key to understanding how Jesus Christ came to be born. Joseph had to forgo his own plan to divorce Mary informally. He came to realise that was not what God wanted of him. The plan of God was for Joseph to be the husband of Mary. In this way, Jesus would become the legal son of Joseph from the line of David. It is Joseph who established the line of descent for Jesus.
“This is how Jesus Christ came to be born.” Joseph is to welcome into his life one who is “found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” and his first reaction was to refuse.
Joseph knew that he had nothing sexually to do with the pregnancy of Mary. He had to come to terms with the fact that God can enter our lives without our doing.
Joseph is called to place his total trust in Mary and in God. And this is how Jesus comes to be born even today. He is born in an atmosphere of trust. Joseph had to dwell in the heart of God, for God to dwell comfortably in the womb of his wife.
We need to be Joseph-persons who accept God’s Will and so prepare our hearts for the birth of God.
Heavenly Father, I trust in You. Give me the heart of Joseph who learnt how to live in Your own heart and so allow Your son to rest comfortably in the womb of his wife, Mary.
Give me that grace to let go of my own plans, just as Joseph did, and to put my trust totally in You.
I trust that Your son, Jesus, will also be born in my heart and live in our monastery just as Your son, Jesus, lived in the home of Joseph at Bethlehem and then at Nazareth. Amen.
The gospel reflections for December are by Abbot John Pereira OSB of the Abbey of Our Lady of Exile, Mount St Benedict.