Thoughts on the Readings for the 4th Sunday of Advent (A) 2017

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 

This Sunday we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent.   Our Gospel this Sunday is the story of  Joseph learning of Mary’s pregnancy, and how he responded to it.   We are told that: “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.  For it is through, the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.”    We are then told that “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.”   

I suspect that even though an angel had communicated God’s will to him, that Joseph didn’t completely understand God’s ways and work.  This is a wonderful example of what faith is all about.  Faith doesn’t necessarily provide understanding.  Rather faith helps us realize that even when we don’t understand, that God is with us and for us, and ultimately will bring light out of darkness, good out of evil, and life out of death. 

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.  It contains what we Christians believe is a prophecy of Christ’s birth.  “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”   

Our second reading this Sunday is the opening verses of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.   Paul says that he was called to be an apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God “………. The Gospel about his Son descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Have you ever accepted in faith, something that you didn’t understand? 
  2. How has faith helped you when you have encountered difficulties? 
  3. Have you ever felt yourself set apart or called by God to do something?  

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