Learn from St. Joseph

by Shiu Lan
Fourth Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-14

Romans 1:1-7

Matthew 1:18-24

In this Sunday's Gospel Reading, we hear the familiar story of how Joseph decided to dismiss Mary quietly when he found out that she was with child even though the engaged couple had had no conjugal relationship, how he heard the Angel's words in a dream to take Mary as his wife, that the son Mary was bearing was from the Holy Spirit, and how he abandoned his own plan immediately and "did as the Angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife". (Matthew 1:24)

What strikes me most in this gospel passage is how promptly and readily St. Joseph gave up his own plan to follow God's. For myself, I am often very attached to my own plans, be they big or small. It is this attachment that makes me unable to hear God's whispers in my ears and open my heart to God's will in my life. Even in prayer, I have to remind myself not to insist on my own will but to seek God's instead.

In the Second Reading, St. Paul gave us a clue how we can open our hearts to God's will in our lives. He taught us "obedience of faith" (Romans 1:5, second reading). It truly opens up my mind! Yes we must obey God in faith - although at this moment in time, we cannot see His will clearly, we do not understand, yet we must not be afraid, we must take courage and follow what we feel are His directions even though it could mean taking a more difficult path in the eyes of the world.

Obedience of faith is not easy, but it will make us a better person, a better Catholic who can better live out the Gospels. In this last Sunday of Advent, let us make it our Christmas resolution to welcome Jesus into our hearts with obedience of faith so that we can be more like St. Joseph who was prompt and ready to abandon his own plan for the sake of God's.