Sunday, December 13, 2015

Maronite Year VIII

As I noted before, the Maronite approach to Christmas draws heavily on the Gospel of Luke. But the two Sundays just before Christmas are drawn from Matthew, and they move forward toward Christmas by looking back to God's plan for Israel. Drawing from Matthew, there is an inevitable emphasis on King David: Jesus Christ, Son of David, is born of Mary, whose husband Joseph is son of David, and represents his house well by his justice.

Sunday of the Revelation to Joseph
Ephesians 3:1-13; Matthew 1:18-25

David sat before the Lord, and he said:
"Who am I, and what is my family,
that you bring us so far?
You are magnified; there is none like You;
no God can there be who is beside You;
You have done sublime things.
Of all this world's nations,
have any been redeemed like Israel,
made Your own, and saved by Your mighty hand?
You have established us,
confirmed us an everlasting people.
O Lord, fulfill Your promise to my house!"

Maiden Mary was espoused to Joseph,
but she was with child, and he was troubled;
he wished for her no harm,
and sought to shield her from an open shame.
But the angel of the Lord in dream said,
"Joseph, son of David!
Love Mary as your wife,
for she has conceived by the Spirit's might.
Her Son shall save His people from all sin."
The mystery of Christ,
once but hoped is now in fullness revealed
according to God's eternal purpose.

To be a just man is not a small thing;
in this world to do right at the right time
is to be like David.
Make us worthy, Lord God, to believe,
as Joseph believed at Your holy word,
seeking to do the right.
Like Eden's great angel,
he stood guard for Your holy Tree of life,
and for Mary, the Mother of our Lord.
To wait for the Lord God,
to abide in the presence of His Name,
is the salvation and hope of the just.

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