Friday of the Third Week of Advent
Joseph receives God’s message from the angel in a dream. The Lord’s promise to Ahaz will be fulfilled through the Virgin Mary: “The Virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.” About seven hundred years after Isaiah’s prophecy, God’s salvation is brought forth in the person of Jesus Christ.
While these mysterious events are the fulfillment of a long-awaited promise, for Mary and Joseph, life was not all joy. We might think that because Mary and Joseph were such holy people that they would not have experienced any distress in the situation, but the Gospel indicates that they encountered the same types of human emotion and difficulty that many of us can experience throughout our lives. Mary and Joseph can relate to our hardships, which is why they are suitable patrons and intercessors to plead on our behalf. Mary and Joseph respond with obedience and fidelity to God’s plan.
Often we find ourselves in instances that leave us bewildered, confused, fearful, suspicious, and we do not know the proper path to take. Life presents us with numerous challenges when we are confronted with an unexpected illness, tragedy, broken relationships, unemployment, or simply a lack of direction in life. In each one of these difficult situations, God is inviting us to turn to Him, to be patient, be still, and listen to what He may have to speak to us. We experience many events that we do not expect, and we are stretched to see beyond the difficulty before us and have confidence in God, the type of trust and conviction that Mary and Joseph showed forth. In many instances, we are challenged to trust that God has a plan and, by our cooperation, He is slowly bringing it to fulfillment—even if we cannot understand clearly what that plan is.
Let’s take Mary and Joseph as our examples of obedience and faithfulness in the midst of trying circumstances. May we call upon God in our need to sustain us in hope, that we may respond to Him with generosity, because our faithfulness will bring forth fruit.
Reflection Question: What are some common thoughts and emotions you experience during times of difficulty, and how might you bring those feelings to the Lord in prayer?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB