Fourth Sunday of Advent – Year A

by Fr Dabulamanzi Ntshangase

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Let us awaken the Joseph character in us

We are on the edge of Christmas and we must use the remaining time to prepare ourselves to celebrate this beautiful feast worthily. We are getting ready to receive Christ into our heart because without him our hearts and homes will always be empty. In the recent days, the world is drowning in bad news: robberies, murders, kidnappings, human trafficking, etc. We are longing for good news: forgiveness, peace, love, respect for human dignity, etc. However, the best news of all is the news brought by an angel to Joseph that Mary will give birth to a Son whom he shall name ‘Jesus’ for will he save all people from their sins. This is a historical event (incarnation) where Jesus came down on earth to confer on us the dignity of ‘children of God.’ This is a time for us to act like children of God and restore the dignity of children of God in us: we need to ask for forgiveness to those we have wronged, we need to forgive those who have wronged us as well, we need to share what we have with those who are less fortunate. It is a time for us show sensitivity and unselfishness as Joseph did.

Joseph found himself in a difficult situation where his wife, Mary, was with a child even though they did not live together yet. To show his sensitivity and unselfishness, Joseph did not think of himself and his honour but he thought of Mary and her honour. Being a just man he made up his mind to do the right thing, even if it proved costly for himself. By taking Mary to his home, he saved her from being treated as a social outcast. He protected the Holy Family in difficult moments but there is little credit that is given to him and this is true with many other saints. They are hidden and they go unnoticed but this does not mean they have no effect in this world. There are many other ‘Josephs’ in this world who would do not humiliate others even when times call for it. They keep the dignity of being children of God to both themselves and others. They maintain a candle light of humanity in a dark age so that darkness does not have the last say. Our days need this kind of people. Let us use this remaining time before Christmas to awaken the ‘Joseph’ character in us so that we may worthily receive Christ into our hearts and homes.