Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday of the Third Week of Advent

(Jeremiah 23:5-8; Matthew 1:18-25)

The elderly person had become wise.  She wanted to confess again the worst sins of her life along with a few current venial ones.  She mentioned the sins specifically and by number.  She knew that her time was limited -- perhaps months, not likely many years.  She was preparing to meet the Lord.  The gospel today tells us that accepting people like her is exactly Jesus’ mission.

In the first reading Jeremiah says that God will establish a righteous king who will call Israel from their exile.  The prophet has Babylon in mind, but the name of that city should be taken as a metaphor for all iniquity and sin.  Jeremiah is saying that the king will bring justification to God’s people for their sins so that they may re-enter the Promised Land.  Matthew in turn describes the son of Mary, whom Joseph shall raise, as that righteous king.  The son will have a royal lineage through Joseph.  His very name Jesus meaning the Lord Saves will reveal his mission of saving his subjects from the deadliness of their sins.

We celebrate Jesus’s birth to remind ourselves that he has come to take away our sins.  This is not a matter of “one size fits all.”  We must recognize the wrong that we have done and ask God’s mercy.  But this is all that we do along with having a firm intention not to sin again.  He will do the rest for us.  As king Jesus has the power to make our eternal glory a reality.