“Watch, the Lord is near.”
This brief phrase was the Benedictus antiphon for Morning Prayer today. Five words sum up the whole attitude of the Church at the moment.
Both readings (Jeremiah 23:5-8, Matthew 1:18-24) today speak of great joy at the coming of the Lord. The first reading from Jeremiah, talks of a virtuous branch for David who will reign as true king and be wise.
This king will re-gather all the people of Israel to their land and be righteous king of them all.
In the gospel, Matthew stresses the divinity of Christ, saying that as Joseph doubted Mary and her story of the conception, an angle appeared to him in a dream and confirmed what Mary had said.
Matthew tells us that when Joseph awoke he took Mary to his home as his wife and we have no mention again in the gospel of Joseph doubting the word of the Lord.
There is a lot for us to be thinking off in today’s readings. Perhaps most of all, we are being called upon to reflect deeply of the person of Jesus and what his coming means for the world. We are told that he is to be king, that he was conceived of God and that he is the fulfilling of the scriptures.
Such stories call on us to make a response, especially in our heart: do we accept the one who is coming to be the king or do we wait to see what happens.
Waiting is not altogether wrong: Joseph waited until the angel spoke to him in a dream. Let us wait and study over the next while and see who scripture reveals this child to be.