“Give heed to the statutes and the ordinances which I teach you, and do them; that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, gives you” (Deuteronomy 4:1).
We live in a digital age, a world of limitless possibilities; a world where knowledge about any subject is so readily available at the snap of one’s finger. The classroom has been completely revolutionized by the smartphone.
Dear friends, long before the internet, long before the smartphone, long before life became so complicated; God has already given us the greatest and simplest do-it-yourself manual. A complete guide on how to achieve the very best life possible. It is the word of God; the commandments given to us for life. The most unfortunate reality is that we tend to see God’s laws as burdensome or difficult to keep. Why is it so easy for us to trust a do-it-yourself-video on the internet believing we would build that machine, but we do not trust God enough to follow His instructions step by step? The key to achieving the life that God so desires for us is simply to TRUST God enough that He means well for us by giving us these instructions and OBEY them with all our mind, with all our heart and with all our soul.
Jesus in our Gospel passage today adds: “Do not think I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them…. till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” This statement of Jesus is very heavy. One, it reveals that there would surely come a time when heaven and earth will pass away. Recent events around the world leave us with no doubt that this earth can actually crumble like a pack of cards and all we have ever trusted pass away within a twinkle of an eye. Secondly, it reveals that the law is for a purpose, there is a mission that must be accomplished on earth.Jesus then concluded by making us realize that it is not enough that we obey the commandments of God, we must be generous enough to teach others to obey these commandments. We must show good examples. This is how we become great in the kingdom of heaven.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my trust in you and help me to obey. Amen. Bible Study: Deuteronomy 4:1-9, Psalm 147 and Matthew 5:17-19).
St. Joseph: Perfect Example of a Just Man
“… and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:19)
Whenever we take a closer look at the person of Joseph, the husband of Mary, we soon realize that we tend to take St. Joseph for granted not because we like to ignore him but because we naturally assume Jesus alone deserves all our attention. There are a lot of lessons to learn from this great man, Joseph, some of which we would now try to itemize:
1. St. Joseph was a just man.
The Bible refers to Joseph as a just man. (Matthew 1:19).This means he was a man of integrity. He was well respected in the community. He had a good name. He was a man of justice. He was not a wayward person and he believed in doing what is right at all times. Can it be said about me that I am a just person? Do I practice selective integrity?
2. St. Joseph did not take joy in seeing the Pain of others.
St. Joseph was unwilling to put Mary to shame despite learning of her pregnancy before they came to be together as husband and wife. When I happen to suspect others of doing wrong, what is my immediate reaction? Do I keep things to myself or begin to gossip and announce to others?
3. St. Joseph was Obedient to God at his own expense.
We are told that when Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the Angel of the Lord had commanded him. He agreed to play the role of a foster father to the Son of God. This meant that he agreed to live as a celibate for the rest of his life for the sake of Jesus Christ.
His own form of celibacy would even be more demanding given that unlike other celibates, he would have to live in the same house with a woman not related to him. Can I make a sacrifice for God? Am I only interested in what I can get from God rather than what I should give to God? Am I faithful to the demands of my calling in life? Do I keep my vows and promises to God?
4. St. Joseph was a Man of Faith.
It takes great faith to agree to do what Joseph did for Jesus and Mary. Do you notice that God only spoke to him through dreams? Unlike the case of Mary and Zechariah who had an Angel appear to them in broad day, Joseph had to depend on his dreams.
It takes great faith to believe that what we see in our dreams is not simply a figment of our imagination. It takes Faith to believe that a young woman would actually conceive without knowing a man. Do I put a limit in my mind to what God can do? Do I really believe that with God, all things are possible? Am I willing to act based on what God reveals to me daily through my study of the scriptures?
In today’s second reading, St. Paul reminds us of Abraham, a man of faith, who hoped against hope that he would be the father of many nations and he was not disappointed in the end. St. Joseph too is a kind of Abraham in that he believed the message of the Angel and agreed to be the earthly Father of Jesus Christ, this way giving credence to the prophecy of Nathan which we read about in today’s first reading. An offspring from the house of David whose house shall be established forever.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, may your earthly father, Joseph intercede for me. Amen. Bible Study: 2 Samuel 7:4-16, Psalm 89, Romans 4:13-22 and Matthew 1:16-24).