Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 10 (NAB Translation)
This week’s first reading from the book of Isaiah is a prophecy of the Messiah as the Immanuel- meaning “God is with us.” This prophecy was given by Isaiah to King Ahaz as a form of reassurance at a time in history when it looked as if Israel was going to be conquered by the Assyrians, a menacing superpower to the north. The prophecy, predicting that a woman (a maiden or virgin) …”will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel,” was seen as fulfilled in the story of the coming of Jesus.
The response for this week’s Psalm echoes the thoughts of the first reading: “Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.”
In this week’s second reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans, we see the heart of the Christmas message. In the opening verses of this letter St. Paul gives us a brief summary of Paul’s purpose and mission which is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Here he makes reference to the Old Testament Scriptures which predicted Christ’s coming and then proclaims both His divinity– “Son of God,” and his humanity — ” as a descendant of David.” St. Paul makes a point to say that this message belongs to all people, including the pagans, which is one of the reasons he is sending this letter to Rome.
This week’s gospel from St. Matthew gives us a view of the nativity story from the perspective of Joseph. In this passage we see the reason why Saint Joseph is considered the Church’s patron. Despite the unusual circumstances of Christ’s birth which were likely to give rise to scandal since Mary and Joseph were not yet married- St. Joseph obeyed the angel and went so far as to be the protector of Jesus Christ and his Mother. This was a gift of God who gave to Mary not only a companion for her life, but also the responsibility to be the guardian of the Son of God and the head of the divine house of the Holy Family. According to Pope Leo XIII, “Now, the divine house that Joseph governed with the authority of a father contained the beginnings of the newborn Church…These are the reasons why the blessed Patriarch looks over the Church since the multitude of Christians have been entrusted to him”.
Reflection question from Bishop Vásquez
What do you think of when you hear that Joseph was righteous? A righteous person is not only a person who follows the law but, most importantly, a righteous person is one who strives for holiness while maintaining an active relationship with God. Today, we focus on the coming birth of Jesus, and the important salvific titles of Son of David, God with us (Emmanuel), and God saves (Jesus) that remind us that God is present and acting. However, let’s return to righteous Joseph. It is because Joseph is close to God that he heard and followed God’s word delivered through the angel. Are we growing in our relationship with God? Do we listen to and follow God’s Word in our daily lives? God is with us. Are we with God?