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Bulletin: December 22, 2019


Fourth Sunday of Advent

What great lengths God will go to in loving and saving us! Think of the most outlandish circumstance you might conceive. That seems to be what the Lord is saying to Ahaz in today’s first reading. “A virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” Not only is the idea of a virgin conceiving beyond comprehension in Ahaz’s time, so would the concept of God wanting to be with us be, as the name Emmanuel indicates. And yet, this is what we celebrate in the Incarnation—God wants so completely to be one with us that God came to be with us in a son born to a virgin, the Blessed Virgin Mary. There is more to this story than even these amazing and outlandish occurrences, however. God wants to be one with us so deeply that God partners with us to make God’s presence known.


Mary and Joseph play a key role in our Catholic devotional and spiritual life. No doubt, much of our devotion to Jesus’ mother, Mary, and his foster father, Joseph, is rooted in our appreciation of their willingness to put themselves at the disposal of the will of God, to seek what God most desired of them and to carry it out. We find their example inspiring, and their proximity to the Lord consoling and encouraging. Knowing that they said yes to God in such dramatic and pivotal ways, even when there was so much at stake and there were so many obstacles to take into account, gives us much to ponder. Yet there is something else we must not forget: while God could have come to be with us as a child in any manner at all, God chose to be with us through the active and humble cooperation of a woman and a man, Mary and Joseph.