December 22, 2019 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

Dearest sisters and brothers, as we get closer to Christmas, the readings today call us to reflect on the meaning of this moment.  In the second reading, Paul reminds us of our primary mission here on earth. We are each called to be holy, as each of us like Paul, has received the grace to be an apostle of Christ. It is to help us fulfill this mission that Emmanuel, “God is with us”, is being born in our midst.

In the gospel, Joseph fulfilled his own life’s mission and apostolate by the way he carried on God’s will. He jettisoned his intention to divorce Mary, which, by the way, was the right thing to do under the circumstances he found himself in. Each of us, just like in Joseph’s example, is also called to fulfill our own mission in holiness.

For Joseph, his mission meant initially enduring the public shame of being betrothed to a woman who was pregnant with a child that wasn’t his.  It meant remaining faithful to the Angel’s demand despite his own agony and confusion.  It meant refusing to follow the dictates of the law about a woman conceiving outside wedlock to carry on God’s will.

All these actions we find in Joseph’s life is what holiness is all about.  It is having God as our all and all no matter what the cost may be.  As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, each of us, like Joseph, is called upon to contribute and play our role in making Christ’s presence real in our world.  We are to be part of that name Emmanuel—God is with us.  God wants to be with everyone in our world today but he wants to do it through you and me.  Are we ready to hand ourselves over to Christ who is coming to be born in the world?

We can best do that in our different states of life whether it be as a teacher, a retiree, a policeman, a sales representative, an office worker, a student, a priest, a wife, a husband, a construction worker, a cleaner, or whatever you are.  God wants you to be holy through it.

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