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Joseph sets example with life of love, faith

Based on Is 7:10-14; Rom 1:1-7; Mt 1:18-24

The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.”

The Alleluia verse sums up the Good News in all of today’s readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Emmanuel (God with us) – Jesus – is the fulfillment of all the promises God made to Israel.

The Gospel tells us about Joseph, a just man who had faith and trust in God. Joseph and Mary are engaged, but before the wedding he learns Mary is pregnant. Confused and disappointed, he didn’t understand how this could be. In those days, punishment for a woman who became pregnant before marriage was death by stoning.

Yet, Joseph doesn’t seek revenge by publicly disgracing Mary. Instead, he decides to “quietly” call off the marriage so Mary won’t be punished.

Tired from worry and concern about all this, Joseph falls asleep. In a dream, an angel appears to Joseph and tells him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife – because the child she is expecting is not from another man but from the Holy Spirit. The angel says Mary will have a son and he is to be named Jesus, because “he will save his people from their sins.”

Joseph awoke from his dream and did what the angel told him. He and Mary were married. Joseph had deep faith in God and recognized what God wanted him to do from the message in his dream.

Joseph loved his family. He protected and cared and provided for Mary and Jesus. It wasn’t always easy for them to do as God wanted; there were struggles and difficulties. The Holy Family is a great example for every family.

During these final days of Advent, think about Joseph’s life of love, trust and faith. He put aside his own choices, put his trust in God and lived his faith with the help of God’s grace. He simply did what God asked him to do – quiet duty and reliability.

Emmanuel (God with us). God has sent his Son to us. We have a Savior who is always with us. Rejoice!