Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent: December 18, 2022

By Carol Craven, Notre Dame Associate

 First Reading: Isaiah 7: 10 -14

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 24: 1-2, 3- 4, 5- 6

Second Reading: Romans 1: 1-7

Alleluia: Matthew 1: 23

Gospel: Matthew 1: 18- 24

In the first reading we learn that God shall give a sign: a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son. His name shall be called Immanuel.

In the responsorial song we learn about God’s mercy and the holiness of creation.

In the second reading we are called to discipleship.

In the gospel we learn of Mary’s pregnancy and the fulfillment of the prophecy that a virgin shall bear a child. She had to tell Joseph about the pregnancy and that this child was a child of God. I can only imagine what took place at that moment. Joseph did not want to expose her to a public stoning, nor did he want to put her away privately. He dreamt. In the dream an Angel came to him. He was advised to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. He learned that the child she conceived was the child of God and she was chosen to be the fulfillment of the prophecy. Joseph listened to the Angel and took Mary as his wife. These two people trusted God and acted from a place of wisdom and courage in a time in history when their actions were counter -culture.

We learn from Mary and Joseph that when we are confronted with difficult decisions, we must seek God’s will. So where do we go? Do we ask for a dream? Do we react in anger? Do we indulge in negative behavior? Or, do we pray, do we meditate, do we seek silence? How do we discern what God’s will is for us during difficult times? Do we have the courage and the wisdom of Mary and Joseph to come to know God’s will in our lives. Are we able to act if the answer is contrary to our desire?