This Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Advent leading us into the last week of preparation for the joyful and glorious coming of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. The Gospel tells the story of St. Joseph and his reaction to finding Mary to be pregnant when they have had no relations. As an honest and upright man, he resolves to leave her quietly to protect her from the public’s wrath. However, Joseph receives a dream telling him that Mary has conceived of the Holy Ghost and that he is to take her into his home to be his wife.
Joseph does what every good Christian should do: he follows the will of God. He does not question the divine instructions he was given. Hearing the word of God, he acted upon it. He immediately took Mary in and cared for her and the soon-to-be-born child. The faith and obedience of Joseph is great. Often when we think of obedience we groan; as part of our fallen nature, we have a hunger to cherish our own pride. But this desire is not of God. It is a twisted, disillusioned temptation which we so often cave to. With Christ’s coming near, we would be wise to humble ourselves. How humiliating would it be if we met Jesus on the Last Day with our noses stuck up and chest puffed out, only to realize the greatness and glory of God as infinitely superior to that of our own? And yet we constantly plead with God for signs of his presence or even existence, as we see in the first reading from Isaiah. But we are not to dwell on our sins. We are to contemplate the goodness and the nearness of God, for God is with us!
Going forth, let us learn from the example of St. Joseph. Let us humble ourselves, obeying the Lord’s every command and placing our trust in Him. May we grow in virtue without ceasing until we, by God’s grace, receive eternal union with Him. Have faith, pray constantly, and believe in the Gospel. Be who God created you to be! Veni, veni Emmanuel!
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.