Fourth Sunday of Advent
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.” So begins Matthew’s narration of of Mary and Joseph’s first adventure as husband and wife. The early Christians who were his audience must have been eager to hear the story of Jesus’ early years, and wondered if what they had heard about Mary was true. It must have been Mary who handed this story down to the apostles, which subsequently found itself in the scriptural canon. One would imagine that this was a rather private matter between Mary and Joseph, but so important that it needed to be shared later. It’s a tender and lovely story of a young couple in love and faced with a dilemma.
JOSEPH WAS A RIGHTEOUS MAN
Today’s Gospel is one of only a few stories that mention Joseph. It is clear from these Gospel accounts that Joseph was a man of good character and also a loving man, not willing to harm Mary, even though it appeared that she had betrayed him in the most hurtful way. He could have denounced her publicly and she would have been stoned to death. But he did not want that to happen to her. Did he and Mary have a conversation about the Annunciation events, and could that conversation have made him more open to the dream in which the angel appeared to him?
IN A DREAM
Do we believe that our dreams hold meaning for our lives? Many psychologists say so, and yet we often dismiss what we have dreamed because our dreams may seem so far-fetched and implausible. If we paid attention to our dreams, and God revealed something important to us, would we believe it? If something scary or evil occurred in a dream, would we just shake it off, or would we say a prayer to God to protect us from evil and know that God would never will bad things for us?
The Jews then, as today, looked for the Messiah to come. When the angel told Joseph that this child was conceived through the Holy Spirit, he readily believed that Mary would bear a son who would save people from their sins. They named him Jesus, which in Hebrew is “Yeshua.” It means “God saves.” Joseph was willing to believe that the prophecy from Isaiah, “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, / and they shall name him Emmanuel, / which means ‘God is with us’ ” would be fulfilled in his own life (Matthew 1:23). When he awoke, he did not shake off the dream, but acted on it in a way that would change his life, and would change the world.
In this season of waiting for the Messiah, we can dream of that time of the Reign of God to come, and we can believe that it will be fulfilled.
Today’s Readings: Is 7:10–14; Ps 24:1–6; Rom 1:1–7; Mt 1:18–24
Also in this bulletin:
- Christmas Day Mass Schedule
- Advent Wreath Prayers
- Holiday Office Hours
- Purchase Scrip for the holidays
- Simbang Gabi Schedule
- Season Of Hope Support Group
- Ministry activity photos
- Christmas Tree Blessings