Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday word, 18 Dec 2007

Advent Tuesday3 (18 Dec 2007) Jer 23. 5-8; Ps 72; Mt 1. 18-25
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Our Mission: Between Bookends

We’ve heard the phrase, the justice of God is tempered by God’s mercy. God’s justice, not comprehensible by humans and at the same time beyond human comprehension, is the attribute that makes the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, sacred and “great Lord of might,” as today’s antiphon cries.

God’s justice was and is like no other because God remains close to us even when we distance our hearts and selves from God’s heart. Because God accompanied humans from the first, one prophet could call God Emmanuel, God-with-us. God with us took on a greater significance when God in Jesus let go of his divinity in order to join our humanity. God in our flesh is Emmanuel in a way that confounds human imagining! This blending of divinity and humanity in Jesus truly is our salvation. As Pope St. Leo the Great put, it “The Conqueror’s victory would have profited us nothing if the battle had been fought outside our human condition.”/1/

Let us pause in our human condition. Step into Joseph’s skin. Imagine hearing the angelic messenger announce to you, the child of your betrothed you are to name...Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. If God were mighty, as Joseph surely believed, how great a Lord of might Joseph appreciated!

Joseph surely marveled, Why and how is it I? as did Mary. God’s choice of Joseph gave him a new vision of God’s justice, namely, making good God’s promises from the start. Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, again and again not only this once. His godliness didn’t allow him to mope unworthily in a pitiable way. No. God’s justice became flesh in order to save all people. If we have any doubts, Jesus reassured disciples in every age saying at the close of Matthew’s gospel, “I am with you always.”/2/ It ended as it began: God with us.

This annunciation to Joseph suggests that an antidote to an unhealthy feeling of unworthiness is to consider the justice of God, who creates us each moment to be a more faithful disciple.
/1/ Letter 31, excerpt in the Office of Readings, 17 December, Liturgy of the Hours, vol. 1, p. 321.
/2/ Matthew 28.20.
Wiki-tune of today's Advent antiphon (embedded above at "great Lord of might") is used under the terms of the GNU.

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