4th Sunday of Advent, 22nd December, 2019
GOSPEL: Matthew 1:18-24
This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him ‘Emmanuel,’
a name which means ‘God-is-with-us’.
When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.
The Gospel of the Lord
Donal Neary SJ
Gospel Reflections for Sundays of Year A: Matthew
The Call to Joseph
In religious terms we would call Joseph a faithful type of guy, observant in religious thought and practice. The visit from the angel tests his faithfulness to God and to Mary. He doesn’t let them down. He was called to be the carer of Jesus and Mary and to find a new openness to the mystery of God.
A temptation of religion is to tie things down too much. The law in Joseph’s time was strict – if a woman was pregnant the man would cancel the betrothal, and she might be stoned to death! Joseph went beyond law to love and the mystery of God’s call. Good religion is open to the mystery of life, however life challenges us and calls us.
Some of the most open-minded people I have met have been very religious, and some of the most narrow-minded people have also been religious! Like good and bad medicine, there is good and bad in religion.
True religion is open to mystery. We need a church lit with the light of God, as Joseph was. His burden was lifted when he was open to God, to take Mary home as his wife, no matter what others might think
This is the annunciation to Joseph – the word of God from the angel to Joseph in a dream. It opened him to a huge new meaning in life. We accept this word as a central part of our lives, and the next time we meet the word, it will be made flesh.
Picture your house, and all who live in it.
Imagine the light of Christ in each room and on all.
Lord, you are the word of God, who is made flesh,
have mercy on us.
Gospel and Gosple Reflection are taken from Mass Readings and Sunday Homily - Catholicireland.net.