Saturday, December 18, 2010

Let the Lord Enter

December 19, 2010
Fourth Sunday of Advent

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

Then he said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary men, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:13-14

Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy. Romans 1:5-7

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 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." Matthew 1:19-21

Joseph trusted an angel in a dream. We are called to follow Christ as wide awake as we can be. The mystery of God’s love for the human race is revealed in the birth that is coming. We judge Christ from the vantage point of history. Joseph had only his dream to go on when he went against the common sense of the law and took Mary as his wife rather than put her away. We are called in this last week of Advent to take a close look at what Mary accomplished by saying ‘Yes” to the angel. Our piety is the “Yes” we say to be the presence of Christ to our world by the quality of our life in Christ. We let Christ direct all our decisions by his inspirations.

We study how to be sensitive to the inspirations of Christ. The joy and the consolations that accompany the inspirations of Christ are easy to recognize. Joy is the closeness of Christ that exudes out of our heart when we know we are doing the right thing. Joy is all the more remarkable when is there without any forewarning. Joy surprises us when it is comes without our working at it. Joy belongs to our closeness to Christ. We cannot make joy last any longer than Christ gives it for. Desolation comes from the evil spirit and it is his attempt to keep us from closeness to Christ by making evil attractive to us. Desolation makes it harder to do the right thing. Our doing the right thing when we know what is expected of us is the listening to the inspirations of the Spirit. We give twice as much glory to God when we do what is right when our body is screaming at us to give up. The good actions done under the duress of sadness or desolation mean we loving God for his own sake. When we do things out of love we are not doing them for what we are getting; we are doing them for what we will give.

Joseph is the patron of the hidden life. We know little about Joseph other than his being the carpenter. Joseph is the model for the way Jesus worked at what he did with his hands. How nice it would be to have something that Jesus made. The reality is that we live in his Church. We are the people of God. What the Church is flows out of the miracle of the togetherness of the People of God. The Church is the Mystical body of Christ when we live our goodness together. Whatever we do for the least persons of our life Christ takes as done for himself. We await our celebration of the birth of Christ for one more week. In the meanwhile we are the birthing of Christ in the good we do for each other. We belong to Christ by our holiness. We are called to be the Josephs of the birthing Christ of the Church.