4th Sunday Advent Year A 2016 

Last weekend you may remember hearing from our pulpit announcements that we here in Region 12 we are hosting a Ladies day on January 21st, this will be an after the holidays pick me up, for all the women in the area to recharge spiritually speaking. I have been fortunate to be a part of that planning committee and needless to say it has been a learning experience. On some level, I, a celibate male who spent 5 years at seminary, surrounded by other such men, am a bit of a fish out of water when it comes to planning a women’s only event. Basically I know ladies like chocolate, pretty things like flowers, and talking. I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that there is a wooden flower on the table display advertising the retreat in the back of Church at St. Peter — I dug out of my trash can at the house— I threw it away, thinking I’m never gonna use this, then I was like oh I bet ladies will think this is pretty, I’ll put it in church. One man’s trash in another ladies treasure. I promise the retreat itself is thought up by women, not me, so it should be good. However, I can’t help now but think of day for men that we need to have together, which will be a flannel required event that should have DANGER in its title somewhere. Men, it won’t be pretty, but we might have chocolate.

Our Gospel this Sunday highlights a pivotal yet easily forgotten character in the narrative of the life of Jesus. St. Joseph, the foster father of the Savior, the caretaker of the Chosen One, is a true man’ man. The Scriptures call him righteous for indeed he is. His life was entirely dedicated toward hard work and service to others, and to think that he was now being called to be the Head of the Holy Family. A few other names that St. Joseph has been given within tradition are Diligent protector of Christ, Glory of Home life, Terror of Demons, and Patron of the Universal Church. Talk about a stud!

A common interpretation of this holy man’s qualms about taking Mary as his wife upon discovering she was with child, is not that he assumed that Mary was unfaithful and therefore desired to divorce her quietly, but that he knew she had vowed to live a life of perpetual virginity and that he believed it had to be solely by an act of God that she had indeed conceived, and that he himself was unworthy to be her spouse and the male figure for her child. Now, only Another act of God, this time through a dream, would Joseph accept that he too was chosen to play a role in the life of Emmanuel, “God with us”, God with him as his Son.

Men and women—we might have our differences, we might agree to disagree on such things as what position the toilet seat should be in, but we are both called beyond our own natural inclinations our own selfish tendencies, to be people who live for love. This will look different for women then it will for men, but it will correspond and complement one another. The vocation to married life, is to raise a new holy family to become a new Joseph and a new Mary working together to create a dwelling place in homes and hearts where Jesus can be welcomed and loved in the midst of everyday life. You might say, that definitely doesn’t sound like me or my family…that’s ok, but this is what we should be striving for, desiring to become.

What does it take to get there? An act of God!!! Which is why we are here at Mass! Here God speaks to us, not in a dream, but in reality as we receive Jesus Christ, humble enough to be born in a manger as a baby, now bold enough to transform bread and wine into His body and blood, so that you and I can become the holy men and women we are called to be. Today the prophecy is fulfilled: Emmanuel: God is with us.