Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The phrase possibly uttered the most often in Scripture—by Yahweh, Jesus, angels, the Psalmist—is “Do not be afraid.” Today we hear the angel exhort Joseph—and us—not to be afraid. Indeed trust and not fear is the lifeblood of our relationship with God.
Erik Erickson, notable psychologist, describes the first task of our own human development as the stage of trust vs mistrust. Likewise, as an adult before God, we are asked to develop and reach a stage of trust as well. And that stage—always a high hill to climb—invites us to greater levels of surrender.
We are asked, in trust, to say an “Amen” to our life. As Jesus said, “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” we try to say: into your hands I commend my past and future, my family and friends, my loves and losses, my good efforts and failures, my holy desires and my feeble virtues.
Let an all-encompassing Advent “AMEN” be on our lips today—increasing our trust and decreasing our fear.
—Fr. Richard Baumann, SJ serves as Tertian Director for the East Africa Jesuit province. He is a native of Cincinnati OH and a past provincial of the Chicago Province..
O Sacred Lord of Ancient Israel: you showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush; you gave him the holy law on Mount Sinai. Come, stretch out your mighty hand and set us free!Please share the Good Word with your friends!