Fourth Sunday of Advent
The following was taken from Sunday Missal 2007-2008 (by Michael Dougherty, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory):
The fact could no longer be denied: Mary was pregnant, Joseph, being “a righteous man” as we hear in the gospel today, intended to “dismiss her quietly.” He wouldn’t make a big fuss. No need to make a difficult situation worse for the young woman. Joachim and Anne, Mary’s parents, would have to accept her back. Obviously they would bear the shame along with her. There really would be little hope of escaping the gossip and judgment from their small, tight-knit community. As discreet as Joseph hoped to be, life would never be the same for them.
How many times has this happened to us? All the supposed facts are there in plain sight, just as they were for Joseph. We make our judgment, believing we are doing the right thing, and we prepare to live with the consequences. Only later do we find out that a larger truth had been concealed from our view. We just didn’t see it.
Joseph had a dream. An angel of the Lord revealed the truth to him: the word of the prophet Isaiah was to be fulfilled. When Joseph awoke, he did not hesitate or doubt. He abandoned his previous resolve. Joseph took Mary as his wife.
As individuals or nations, let us pause in our rush to judge others. May we hear and see how Emmanuel, “God with us,” offers grace and peace today to all.