(From the Bulletin of Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, December 18, 2016)
The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Today's readings on this last Sunday of Advent describe how God very dramatically provides signs of His loving intervention in human history when there seemed no way out. In the first reading, God directly invites King Ahaz to ask for a sign that God would protect the southern kingdom of Judah from enemies that threatened to destroy it.
Now, a wise leader would eagerly grasp at the opportunity. Not Ahaz, who in his pride had already decided on his own political solution! Isaiah decides to give him God's sign anyway, saying "the virgin shall conceive a child and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel." Ahaz was not interested in God's help. He foolishly trusted his own wisdom. As a result, the whole nation was defeated and sent into exile in Babylon in 582 BC.
The Gospel tells us of another man faced with a grave dilemma. Joseph, already bound by a solemn betrothal ceremony to take Mary as his wife, discovers to his dismay that she is with child. He can only suppose that she has been unfaithful to him, and is now subject to very severe laws that could result in her death if he exposes her. He takes the compassionate way out. He will divorce her quietly, exposing himself, not her, to shame.
God intervenes through a dream in which an angel tells him the whole story. The angel tells Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, for her child has God Himself as the Father! With incredible trust and humility, Joseph obediently agrees to the plan. What a contrast between this just man and crafty Ahaz.
How God rewards those who abandon their own plans and accept His plans for their lives! It's even more incredible that Jesus the God-man, in turn, entrusted His life to Joseph and Mary! No wonder a world holds its breath for His birth at Christmas.
Again, God entrusts the success of His plans this year to those who can love enough and sacrifice their plans for His own. What will we make of this Christmas? For that's what Christmas is meant to destroy our fears and make us God-bearers.
It's a question of that mysterious presence in our hearts that we call faith and hope. If we can only say a simple, unqualified "yes" as Mary and Joseph did, some amazing things could happen in our lives. May our seniors and aged Men and Women in need help us to channel our “YES”. 0 Come, 0 Come Emmanuel!
Fr. Louis Kemayou, Pastor