Reflection on Scripture Fourth Sunday of Advent Gospel A Joseph's fiat

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Fourth Sunday of Advent Gospel  A

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. 
· The custom in those days was that a marriage was arranged. The couple was betrothed to each other (engaged). For a year they would spend apart, getting to know each other. Then the wedding ceremony would follow after that. They were not to have marital relations with one another during this year of engagement. But if they did, nothing would be said.
· Sometime after the Annunciation Mary shared with Joseph that she was with child.

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 
· Joseph knew that he had not had relations with Mary. He presumed that she had such with another man. How could he comprehend that this child was conceived by the power of God?
· Being a man dedicated to God and one who truly loved Mary, he didn’t wish her harm. Divorcing her was allowed by law if there was a just reason. If he exposed that she had been unfaithful to him, she would have been stoned to death. By signing a decree of divorce and not accuse her would spare her life. Not “exposing her to shame” meant that people would think that he was the father, but somehow she displeased him.
· Have we ever had situations that we felt caught: our heart says one thing but our mind says another? This is Joseph’s dilemma.
· Do you imagine that Joseph prayed for guidance?

Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 
· Was Joseph looking for a way to remain just before God and be Mary’s husband? We don’t know. But the dream confirmed in his mind that what Mary may have told him was true. Without understanding how, Joseph accepted that the conception was through the power and plan of God.
· By identifying Joseph as a descendant of David fulfills the prophesy that stated that the Messiah would be of the house of David. By accepting the child as his own, Joseph is adopting him and thus brings Jesus into the Davidic line.
· It was the role of the man to name the child. This solidified his role as foster father of Jesus.
· The plan of God is revealed also for this child: he will save God’s people from their sins.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”
· Matthew is fond of showing how Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophetic message of the Old Testament. Here is quoting Isaiah 7:14.
· “God is with us” Before leaving the Apostles Jesus said he would be with them until the end of time. He truly is Emmanuel.
 When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. 
· Joseph showed how righteous he was by his obedience to the word of God.
· What we have done in the same situation? Without God, Joseph would have followed his human instincts. Do we turn to God or follow our head?

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