Homily for the fourth Sunday of Advent - Year A - Mt. 1:18-24
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, «Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.» All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: «Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel» (Is. 7:14), which means, God with us. When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife. "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit. "
 
In a little while, God will be with us! For Jesus will have been born - Jesus, the child-God, the child whose prophetic name is «Emmanuel», that is: «God with us»! But Jesus is already here, you say; Jesus has already been born. This is true! And yet, it is necessary that he be born again, it is necessary that he come, again, into the world, into the world of our heart!
 
" Her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. "
 
There is not a day that goes by, there is not an hour, a minute, or a second that passes during which God does not act in our life. And yet, when we realize that this divine action takes place in us, we immediately do not want to think about it, we try to think about it as little as possible. But this action of God is real and it asserts itself to us, whether we like it or not. So, the only way of escape left to us is to acknowledge ourselves unworthy of such a favor...
 
The same thing happened to Joseph. He had realized that something mysterious was taking place in Mary: she was pregnant. Now, they had both resolved never to have any carnal contact. So the only solution to this mystery was for him to think that God had certainly intervened in that conception. But Joseph, thanks to his immense humility, decided to eclipse himself, leaving Mary alone with her Lord. This did not concern him: undoubtedly, Joseph considered himself unworthy to participate in such a Mystery...
 
" But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, «Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.» "
 
Joseph had made his decision: he would leave Mary. This was absolutely clear in his mind: it was necessary for him to make this sacrifice, to give up what was most dear to him in all the world - Mary - because he considered himself unworthy of having such a wife, a wife blessed with such great favors... Like Abraham when he was just about to immolate Isaac, the son of the divine promise, Joseph consummated his sacrifice in his spirit. It was at that moment that the Angel of the Lord intervened and prevented him from acting on his decision, just as he had prevented Abraham from killing Isaac...
 
" All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: «Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel» (Is. 7:14), which means, God with us. When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife. "
 
What a wonder! God with us! God with us through Mary, with Mary, and in Mary! Such was the happiness of Joseph two thousand years ago! May the Lord give us the grace of such happiness today! Is this not possible? Yes, of course it is possible! For Jesus is with us! He is with us in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Everything that took place on Christmas Eve at the birth of Jesus can still be realized today, when we receive the Lord in holy communion!
 
In order for Christmas to take place again today, each time we receive communion, all that is needed is for us to believe that what we receive is not the bread that we see, but rather the Body of Christ! When Jesus was born on Christmas Eve, Joseph saw nothing but a child, similar to all the other children who come into the world... But Joseph believed! He believed what the angel told him in a dream! He believed that this child was the Son of God! "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife."
 
May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary give us the grace of interceding for us before the Lord Jesus, in order that we might all receive the gift of a faith that is profound, true, and sincere, one that will withstand any trial, a faith like that of Joseph, if such a gift could ever be given, so incomparable is the holiness of the Husband of Mary!
 

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