Fourth Sunday of Advent – December 19
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the Angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.
Matthew is the only Gospel writer who documents that Joseph was not notified about Mary’s pregnancy. An angel enlightened the confused man. What amazes me is the faith of Mary to trust God to do this. She and Joseph will parent this child.
Scripture tells us very little of how much influence Joseph had on the life of Jesus. We can only surmise about the quality and depth of their relationship. If only we had some idea of Joseph’s feelings and thoughts!
Even Mary’s side of the story is very skimpy. What must she have been feeling and thinking as she lived out those nine months with her unborn babe? Settling down with Joseph, once he was told, must have taken some adjustment time for both of them.
As we draw near to Christmas, I am called to reflect on the questions:
What is being birthed in me at this time?
What feelings and thoughts intermingle as I ponder this passage of Scripture?
How can I, in turn, bring to my reality the message of Jesus?
Jesus, Emmanuel, open my heart to your message of love and peace. Help me to response in kind to those I meet on my journey to you. May it spread throughout our world to bring all to know the joy and happiness you promise. Amen.
— Bride Doyle
Gospel Text: Matthew 1:18 –24
The last Sunday of Advent tells of the coming of Christ in a tender story filled with all the human anxieties and fears of expectant parents. Joseph is fearful – for the child, for Mary, for the future.
How similar to our fears – real or imagined – as life unfolds before our eyes!
But in the midst of Joseph’s anxiety come the words “Do not be afraid, she will bear a son and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins”. We know the rest of the story. Joseph trusted the call and the Saviour of the world “becomes flesh”.
Advent is a celebration of hope. Our task is to find Christ in our world as it is with all the uncertainties and fears. Historically, the coming of Christ is certain – what is uncertain is our response, our readiness to “go forth and meet Him”.
We must be willing to see and acclaim Him as John the Baptist did, even at the very moment when our whole life’s work and its meaning seem to collapse.
O God, may we open our hearts to receive and celebrate Christ in the joyful hope of Advent.
(a) What is my greatest source of hope as Christmas draws near?
(b) Today how might I be a source of hope to those who have lost the true meaning of the coming of Christ amidst the chaos and
confusion of everyday Living?
— Sr. Teresa Doyle
Sr. Patricia Whittle