Fourth Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 7:10-14 Rom. 1:1-7 Matt. 1:18-24
On this Sunday before Christmas, Matthew presents the circumstances around a very complicated pregnancy. The birth of a baby can only come about through the cooperation of the parents, and both Mary and Joseph were fully aware that Mary’s account of the Annunciation was going to present many difficulties. How were they coping with this impending pregnancy?
The two were about to marry, which leads us to conclude there was an intimate relationship leading up to their life commitment. If this was a healthy relationship, they had much to share, and the whole gamut of emotions from fear to trust must have been expressed in private or in the company of family and friends. Decisions had to be made quickly, and the appearance of an angel in a dream was timely.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”
In retrospect, Mary’s response was a decision to comply with the will of God, and Joseph, too, was used by an angel from God to fulfill the prophet’s words. And what about us? Are we so busy with our life that if an angel appeared, we would miss it, just as we are unaware of the many things present around us? What are we attentive to, especially now in the Christmas rush season?
Reflect on this account of the experience of the creation of Jesus and learn how the God of all life interacts with the world. If persons or couples try to tough it out by themselves, angels appearing while awake or asleep will not help in problem-solving.
The third party of another trusted individual, the Holy Spirit, or just opening ourselves fully in truth and humility will provide the peace and security as gifts needed when overwhelming pressures arise.
It can seem like Jesus, Mary and Joseph are the triangle of our faith. Still, beyond them, God and the Holy Spirit and many more spiritual advisors offer a generous helping of daily aides in decision-making. Slow down and open the mind and heart before pressing the panic button.
Sr. Dorothy Maxwell, OP