My Dear Family in Christ,
This is it! The fourth and final Sunday of Advent, and the start of the true countdown to the Nativity of Our Lord. As we have prepared this Advent Season, particularly through Sacred Scripture and the Liturgy, we have experienced the help and companionship of some great Saints:
The Prophet Isaiah has been read at nearly every Mass, reminding us through signs, prophecies, and symbols that the birth of the Messiah was long awaited, and long prepared for
John the Baptist, the last and greatest prophet of the Messiah, has ‘gone before Him to prepare His way’, making straight His paths (Luke 3:4) and preparing us for the Messiah’s arrival by calling us to repentance
Mary, the Mother of the Messiah, received the message of the Angel Gabriel, “believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to Her” (Luke 1:45) and courageously declared, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done unto me according to your word.”
This Sunday, our Gospel this Sunday presents us with one more companion to help us prepare: St. Joseph. Though he *hardly* speaks a word, his heroic actions play a significant role in the Birth of Jesus and give us a holy example.
‘…Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace…’
This has recently struck me as beautiful and so relevant for us today. It is too easy to speak nicely to people’s faces, while speaking poorly about them with others. Yet one of the great marks of holiness is the ability to speak well of others behind their back, and to love them enough to gently address any serious concerns with them in private. May St. Joseph intercede for us in our relationships, that we too would be righteous and unwilling to expose those we love to public disgrace.
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid… You Are to Name Him Jesus”
As he sleeps, the angel calls him by name, reminds him of his great ancestry, and exhorts him to be courageous. Though not one word of St. Joseph’s is ever explicitly recorded in the Gospel, this passage hints that he did say at least one very important word: He named the child Jesus. May St. Joseph intercede for us, that in a world of noise we may learn to cherish sacred silence, go about our duties in simplicity and humility, and show great love and reverence for the name of Jesus.
‘When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel commanded him’
As simple as that! Though it was probably far from easy, Joseph obeyed the will of God without delay. May St. Joseph intercede for us, that we too would be able to hear God’s messengers and respond in loving obedience without dragging our heels.
O Glorious St. Joseph, patron of the Church, of our home and native land, of families, fathers, husbands, those who work, and all who love (or are trying to love) Jesus… pray for us!
God love you,