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Matthew 1:18-25 - Sunday Scripture Reflection

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, we will explore the unexpected arrival of the Messiah to a young couple, Mary and Joseph. The couple was betrothed, but not married, and Joseph was faced with a great moral dilemma toward Mary. Life often presents us with challenges, and these challenges can be unsettling and confusing. Joseph compassionately plans to dismiss the troubles quietly (which would be devastating to Mary and her unborn child), yet Joseph is also open to God's invitation to courageously follow a divine plan of grace. We will explore the miracle of God's grace in the Nativity story, and also reflect on how God is unexpectedly active in our lives as well.

Our Scripture passage is found in the Gospel according to Matthew. You may find the Scripture lesson by selecting the following link: (Matthew 1:18-25).

For continuing study, reflect on these questions (found in the study guide below):

  • Read the assigned Scripture lesson for the week. After reflecting on the experience of Joseph and his divine dream with the Angel of the Lord, consider: what feelings might Joseph have had after discovering Mary was with child? How might those feelings changed or become more complex after his dream, learning the child was a miraculous moment from God?

  • Some Biblical scholars note that the radical compassion of Jesus was first modeled by Joseph as he believed in God and made a commitment to stay with Mary. Think of instances of Jesus breaking the letter of the law to act justly or show compassion, and compare these moments to Joseph's actions with the birth of Jesus.

  • Read the "WHERE..." paragraph in the guide below (the second paragraph), and ask: how does the act of God in the birth of Jesus bring a new understanding to God's actions in the world, and how does the author's ideas impact your thoughts of how people bring about God's will for all people?

  • Read the "SO WHAT..." paragraph below, and reflect on the idea of responding to God with great faith, as Joseph did, all the while, not knowing where the future will lead you.

  • Read the "NOW WHAT..." paragraph below, and reflect on the author's last sentence in the paragraph: "Can we trust Jesus truly to fulfill that emptiness that we know is within us?"

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