Be Open to God’s Subtle Signs
Fourth Sunday of Advent – Year A
In order to draw us ever closer to Him, God permits us to experience different trials during our lives. We see this in today’s Gospel, where Joseph learns about the Blessed Mother’s pregnancy. Being a just man, he is certain that the child is not his and he believes in his heart that he should divorce Mary quietly. In his mercy, however, Joseph loves Mary and does not wish to expose her to shame, and his experience tells him that Mary is the most virtuous woman. Surely, Joseph felt humanly confused and in turmoil when he found out that Mary was pregnant. If others found out about the situation and if he did take Mary into his home (let us remember that Mary is already his wife), they would suspect that he was the biological father, so Joseph probably experienced a deep loneliness and anxiety. This whole experience was a great trial and a moral conundrum of epic proportions.
Yet, in the midst of this trial, God provided a sign for Joseph. He came to Joseph through an angel and in a dream, and helped Joseph to follow the right path. In our lives, too, God provides many signs in order to help us to follow him. Certainly, we do not experience great signs like Joseph; for, an exceptional trial required a heavenly sign. Nevertheless, in our daily lives and in our trials, God shows us the way to follow Him through different people, events, and experiences.
God’s signs are often very subtle and gentle. Jesus is proof of this; He came to us as tiny, helpless baby. Therefore, it is important to keep our eyes open and to remain sensitive to God’s action, since He comes in ways we do not expect. What is the best way to remain attentive to God’s action? Through prayer and through frequent reception of the sacraments. Encountering God through silent prayer, we begin to understand His language of love. We become more able to hear and see how He speaks to us through daily events. In the sacraments we receive the many graces we need to grow in holiness and become more like Christ. These graces, in turn, make us think and perceive like Jesus.
In today’s Gospel, the angel said to Joseph: “Do not be afraid.” Therefore, let us not be afraid if life is not easy, if we feel alone, if we are overwhelmed, if we experience trials. Instead, as we enter into the final week of Advent and prepare ourselves to celebrate, let us invite St. Joseph into our lives to help us in our trials, in our every day duties, in our prayer, in our families and in our vocations to enter into deeper silence, so that we might encounter the Christ Child—the Light who comes into our world—as He did. For, no one knows better than Mary and Joseph that Emmanuel is here—God is with us. And He will never abandon us. This is the source of our joy! He is the source of our hope!
Yours in Christ,
Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent: Lectionary 10Tags: #advent, #fatherarthurmarat, #frarthurmarat, #olwparish, #reflection