Homily Notes Fourth Sunday of Advent A
This is how Jesus Christ came to be born … Matt 1:18-24
Here’s a human story. At times it’s a chaotic story. But it’s also God’s story.
Joseph, wanting to spare Mary publicity decided to leave her.
But I doubt it was just about sparing her publicity.
Joseph wasn’t about to tolerate what he believed to be Mary’s unfaithfulness. After all, she was pregnant and he knew he wasn’t the father!
It seems clear that Mary’s position – single and pregnant – was something of a scandal within society at the time – otherwise why would Joseph want ‘to spare her publicity’?
Reminds me of a friend of mine who married young; she says that for months afterwards people used to say hello to her tummy!
The immediate aftermath of Mary’s discovery that she’s pregnant could be taken straight out of 1950s/60s and 70s Ireland.
“There is no present or future – only the past, happening over and over again – now.” (Eugene O’Neill)
I’d like you to observe one particular detail in God becoming man – the ‘messy’ mix of Divine and human.
Christmas was God’s idea, God’s doing, but it required the co-operation of Mary and Joseph and the taking of huge steps of faith by both.
Nonetheless, they weren’t blind steps, they were steps based on significant encounters with God.
Yes, Joseph took a huge step of faith based on a dream but within the dream no doubt God was persuasive. Still, Joseph had to act in faith.
Yes, Mary was left with the humanly impossible task of ‘explaining’ her pregnancy to Joseph and to face the cultural cruelty of people, but earlier she had seen and heard an Angel announce her pregnancy.
Mary and Joseph teach us that faith is not totally blind, or at least it shouldn’t be, for any of us. Faith is based on real encounter with God, and in the difficult moments on the memory of earlier encounters with God.