First Sunday

His sorrow when he decided to leave the Blessed Virgin;
his joy when the angel told him the mystery
of the Incarnation.

Introductory Prayer

O chaste spouse of Mary,
great was the trouble and anguish of your heart
when you were considering
quietly sending away your in­violate spouse;
yet your joy was unspeakable,
when the surpassing mystery of the Incarna­tion
was made known to you by the angel.

By this sorrow and this joy,
we be­seech you to comfort our souls,
both now and in the sorrows of our final hour,
with the joy of a good life and a holy death
after the pattern of your own life
and death in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Reading Mt 1:18-25

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly.

But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us).

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.


"In the course of that pilgrimage of faith that was his life, Joseph, like Mary, remained faithful to God's call until the end. While Mary's life was the bringing to fullness of that fiat first spoken at the Annunciation, at the moment of Joseph's own ‘annunciation' he said nothing; instead he simply ‘did as the angel of the Lord commanded him' (Mt 1:24). And this first ‘doing' became the beginning of ‘Joseph's way.'" 2

"In the words of the ‘annunciation' by night, Joseph not only heard the divine truth concerning his wife's indescrib­able vocation; he also heard once again the truth about his own vocation. This ‘just' man, who, in the spirit of the no­blest traditions of the Chosen People, loved the Virgin of Nazareth and was bound to her by a husband's love, was once again called by God to this love.

2.   Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation "Guardian of the Redeemer" (=GR), 17, 1989.


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