< <  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

  > >

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-14
Romans 1:1-7
Psalm 24:1-6
Matthew 1:18-24

View Readings
Similar Reflections


"When Joseph awoke he did as the angel of the Lord had directed him." —Matthew 1:24

Isaiah prophesied: "The virgin shall be with Child, and bear a Son, and shall name Him Immanuel" (Is 7:14; Mt 1:23). No one had ever dreamed that this prophecy meant that a virgin would conceive a child without any sexual relations. Nonetheless, over 700 years after the prophecy, Joseph did dream of the virgin birth. "Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream and said to him: 'Joseph, son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this Child' " (Mt 1:20). After Mary, Joseph was probably the first one to understand and believe Isaiah's ancient prophecy.

After she conceived, Mary no longer had to believe in Isaiah's prophecy. She knew for a fact that she had conceived without sexual relations. However, Joseph knew this only by faith. Throughout his life, only he believed that Isaiah's prophecy was literally fulfilled in the pregnancy of his wife and the birth of his Foster Son. Joseph did not have the Church or the New Testament to confirm his belief. He had only a dream, his relationship with Mary, and primarily his relationship with the Lord.

Joseph made one of the greatest acts of faith in human history. Joseph is the man of faith. We need to have faith like his, for "all depends on faith" (Rm 4:16), especially Christmas.

Prayer:  Father, may I love St. Joseph, ask for his prayers, have faith like his, and let him prepare me for Christmas.

Promise:  "Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!" —Is 7:11

Praise:  "O Flower of Jesse's stem, You have been raised up as a Sign for all peoples."

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape, Hold Fast to the Faith, on audio AV 71-1 or video V-71.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 28, 2010

The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.