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Joseph is example of love, trust, faith

Based on the readings: Is 7:10-14; Rm 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 of all of today’s readings for the fourth Sunday of Advent. Emmanuel (God with us) – Jesus – is the fulfillment of all the promises that 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, the 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 people from their sins.”

Joseph awoke from his dream and did what the angel told him. He and Mary were married. Joseph loved his family. He protected, 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. Joseph doesn’t speak in the Gospel; he simply does what God asks him to do – quiet duty and reliability.

Soon we will hear the “tidings of great joy” that the angels announced to the shepherds on that first Christmas night, “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.” A Blessed Christmas!