Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 18, 2016 – Year A
Readings: Is 7:10-14 / Ps 24 / Rom 1:1-7 / Mt 1:18-24
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
A story is told about a worried mother who phoned a church office on the afternoon before the annual Christmas program to say that her small son, who was to play the role of Joseph in the Christmas pageant, had a cold and had gone to bed on doctor’s orders. When the director of the play heard this, he said, “It’s too late now to get another Joseph. We’ll just have to write him out of the script.” And they did. Joseph just disappeared and only a few of those who watched that night realized that Joseph was missing.
Many of us are aware that Joseph is often forgotten. One of the reasons perhaps is that he didn’t say a single word in the sacred scriptures. Today’s gospel reminds of the importance of his role in God’s plan. In fact, the story of the gospel today is centered on him.
There was a retreat master who was one day addressing a group of fathers and he proposed St. Joseph as a perfect model for them as head of their families. At that, one of the recruits said, “Joseph’s situation was totally different from mine. He was a saint. His wife was sinless. And his child was the son of God. I am no saint. My wife is not sinless and my child isn’t the son of God.” Without batting an eyelid, the retreat master responded, “Did your son, when he was 12, leave home for three days and you didn’t know where he was? Were you ever awakened in the middle of the night and urged to flee from the imminent threat of your innocent child’s assassination? Have you ever walked for several days and miles to go to another country with your family so your son would be free from harm?” Saint Joseph’s life was definitely not easy, but because of his unwavering faith in God he was able to do a seemingly impossible task.
In the gospel that we have just heard, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife, into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived.” And when he woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. Saint Joseph could have just disregarded the message of the angel; after all it was only a dream. But he was a man of faith. He must have already seen God’s hand at work in his life and in the life of people around him, causing him to trust God’s message. He believed that God is with us. Saint Joseph’s faith is indeed a model for us all.
In the days before Christmas, little children can hardly wait for the gifts from Santa. But for many adults, this time of the year, according to research and statistics, is stressful. The scriptures tell us that St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary had been in a worse situation, but they managed because God was with them, and their God is our God. Our faith tells us that we will never walk alone is this world. Jesus, our savior and Lord, whose birthday we will celebrate next Sunday, promised that He will be with us always until the end of time. Let us ask for the intercession of St. Joseph that we may always have in mind this good news.