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Monday, December 18, 2000

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Jeremiah 23:5-8
Psalm 72
Matthew 1:18-24

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o come, all ye faith-ful

"When Joseph awoke he did as the angel of the Lord had directed him and received her into his home as his wife. He had no relations with her at any time before she bore a Son, Whom he named Jesus." —Matthew 1:24-25

We need every moment of Advent to grow in faith. It is so easy to miss Christ's Christmas coming. Only those who are filled with faith will be ready to meet Him.

Joseph, the man of faith, believed an angel's message, which he heard in a dream (Mt 1:20). He believed that his wife was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. This was one of the most astounding acts of faith ever. St. Joseph, pray for us to grow deeply and quickly in faith during these last days of Advent.

In the first reading of today's Mass, the Church presents to us a prophecy from Jeremiah referring to the Exodus and to the Israelites' return from exile in Babylon (Jer 23:7-8). Both of these monumental events came out of nowhere. To believe that they would ever occur would be to "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor 5:7).

Several mountains loom between us and meeting Christ this Christmas. Only by faith can we move these mountains (Mt 17:20). In these last few days of Advent, let us cry out: "I believe! Help my lack of faith!" (Mk 9:24, our transl) Let us abide in God's word (Jn 8:31) by which we hear Him and have faith in Him (Rm 10:17). Let us grow in faith, even if we have to suffer (see 1 Pt 1:6-7). When Advent is the time of our greatest faith, Christmas will be the greatest ever.

Prayer:  Father, give me faith like that of St. Joseph.

Promise:  "She is to have a Son and you are to name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins." —Mt 1:21

Praise:  "O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, come, stretch out Your mighty hand to set us free."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, July 15, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 17, 2000