At the peak of God's irritation of or sinfulness, He promises us through His prophet the virginal conception of His only begotten son Jesus. "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (First reading). Even though King Ahaz did what is evil in the eyes of the Lord (sacrificed his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall; cf. 2Kings 3:27), out of sheer mercy God still intervenes in the lives of His people Israel. Our sins cannot make God rescind His promise, which is truth itself. God is eternal and unchangeable. The hypocrisy of King Ahaz is contagious because we all suffer from the refusal to genuinely acknowledge our sinfulness before God. Let us never give excuses for our sins. With furrowed faces we need to acknowledge our shortcomings and make an effort in this carnal era not to allow our lights to fade.
The texts of today exonerate St. Joseph as a worthy example for all of us to emulate. He refuses to yield to all external influences that pressured him to renounce God's calling to be the foster father of the savior of the world. Unlike king Ahaz (a royal descendant of David's), Joseph calmly places his trust and confidence in God, demonstrating obedience in faith even when he does not fully understand the message of the angel. In his fear to take Mary as wife, Joseph acknowledges the presence of Divinity in the womb of Mary. He teaches us how to receive God's gift to us of His son. This is what we are called to embrace. To be like Joseph. God reaches for our hearts, where the treasure is hidden. We need to ask ourselves: Is my belief firm enough? How clear must the message of God be revealed to me before I will accept it? St. José had a big heart and he painfully chose the salvation of the universe over his personal interest. When we say "yes" to God we draw closer to Him and grow in faith. All we need this Christmas is the courage to say "yes Lord".
Fr. Sam Madza, sma